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Melbourne: Matchbox 20 front man Rob Thomas has been slammed by fans after recently making a racist joke about Australians during a solo performance here. He later apologised.
The 44-year-old told the audience about his long flight, saying: "I drink till I think I'm Australian."
That comment was responded with laughter but then he added: "And then I keep drinking till I think I'm a black Australian."
His comment immediately invited collective groans and boos. Thomas kept talking without apologising but he later released a statement, reports aceshowbiz.com.
"Please understand that although it is no excuse, I was completely unaware that in Australia there is a polarizing social issue happening right now involving indigenous people and alcohol," he wrote on Facebook.
"I'm sitting here in my hotel room completely gutted that a joke that I made was much more relevant to the times in Australia than I realised."
He continued: "I know that words are just words, but to those I offended, I deeply, deeply apologise! Everyone who knows me is aware that for the past 20 years I have been a fervent supporter of civil rights, so I am incredibly embarrassed by my ignorance. I feel like a fool and apologise to all Australians."
One fan defended him via Twitter, saying Thomas was speaking while they were experiencing technical difficulties. But some won't take it lightly. "Too far Rob Thomas! Stick to singing, you touche. #proudtobeanaboriginalaustralian," someone tweeted. (IANS)