"Having had an opportunity to view the camera footage of the incident this past Thursday at the Saddle Ranch Bar & Chop House in West Hollywood, and having reflected on the incident over the weekend, I have come to the conclusion that no matter what my feelings are towards Sarah Palin, I should not have expressed them towards her daughter, Bristol Palin," Stephen Hanks said in a statement released by his lawyer to E! News.
The admission comes after, according to attorney Michael J. Gulden, Hanks received a number of threats directed at himself, his family—and even his dog! Hence Hanks' decision to drop off the grid by shutting down his various social media accounts.
Among other things, Hanks called the elder Palin a "whore" and told Bristol that her mother belonged in hell, dropping F-bombs throughout. Bristol then asked him if he was "a homosexual" and, when he more or less said yes, she retorted that she "could tell."
So, bad blood all around.
"I am very passionate about politics, and believe in equality for all Americans," Hanks continued. "I expressed my feelings in an improper manner in the heat of the moment, and allowed my emotions to get the better of me.
"My political views are solely mine, and not those of my friends, colleagues or the establishment for which I work. I apologize to them for my poor judgment that night, and to Bristol for any hurt my actions may have caused her. I wish Bristol success with her television show, and much happiness in the future."
Hanks also says that, as far as he knows, the incident was not a set-up perpetrated by the production company behind her new TV show. He says he didn't even know that their exchange was being filmed, though, considering Bristol had a crew with her duringher entire time in the bar, that seems unlikely.
"Since this incident, numerous threats have been made against Mr. Hanks, his friends, family, colleagues, and even his pets," Gulden said. "Acknowledging that the exchange between Mr. Hanks and Bristol has generated a lot of media interest and debate, Mr. Hanks would like to put the incident behind him, and hopes that the media and public will respect his rights and privacy."
On her end, Bristol's camp called subsequent accusations that the 20-year-old was homophobic "completely unfounded."
A rep for Bristol told E! News today that "nobody associated in any way with the production staged this. Nobody would ever place Bristol or her family in such a position."
—Reporting by Sharareh Drury and Katie Rhames