British actor Orlando Bloom has apologized for describing himself as a “pikey” in an interview this week after social media users accused him of racism.
When asked in an interview on BBC Radio 1 whether he would perform his own stunts in the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean film, Bloom responded: “I’m still a pikey from Kent, boy.”
“I’m still a pikey from Kent. You don’t want to get on the wrong side of me, boy,” he continued.
The show’s host, Nick Grimshaw, initially apologized on the actor’s behalf and said: “He’s a bit of a loose cannon. Apologies if you were offended by anything that Orlando may have said.”
However, Bloom soon faced a backlash on social media, with some accusing the 40-year-old of using a “racist slur” against gypsy travelers.
— angree bindii (@angreebindii) April 26, 2017
I love that Orlando Bloom keeps saying pikey on Radio 1 when there was a whole feature on there about how offensive that is the other day 😬
— wann (@neversquare) April 26, 2017
The remark reportedly drew criticism from The National Gypsy-Traveller-Roma Council, which described Bloom’s comments as “deeply worrying” and “racially abusive.”
Historically, ‘pikey’ is a pejorative term used to describe gypsy travelers.
“I’ve come from Kent and I grew up with a lot of, like, freewheeling, cool, interesting characters like that,” Bloom later clarified. “I certainly wasn’t taking a slant at that at all. I’m very respectful.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the BBC said: “As with any live broadcast, we take great care to ensure all guests are briefed about their language before going on air. We apologized to listeners afterward for any offense caused.”