Apparently eating all those fries has taken its toll. Morgan Spurlock's battling foot-in-mouth disease.
The Super Size Me filmmaker offered up a super-sized mea culpa after a speech he gave at a suburban Philadelphia high school last Friday featuring profanity and some ill-conceived stabs at humor sparked controversy.
Addressing 700 students and faculty at Hatboro-Horsham High School's first annual health fair, Spurlock dropped the F-bomb, poked fun at the intelligence of McDonalds employees--of which he would know having eaten nothing but Big Macs for a month for his Oscar-nominated documentary, Super Size Me--and joked that the school's teachers smoked marijuana.
Unfortunately the 35-year-old director--who's given similarly spirited talks to numerous schools and colleges across the country discussing his experiences in making the movie and what it's taught him?was unaware how poorly parts of his talk would go over with this particular audience.
"It is never my intent to insult or demean anyone and I understand how some of my remarks may have offended some in attendance and if you feel they did, then I am deeply sorry," Spurlock wrote Sunday on his blog in a "Letter of Explanation."
He also dismissed press reports that his lecture was laced with profanity, noting that he only uttered five curse words throughout, of which the school's superintendent told him backstage "the only words he had a problem with were the F-bombs" which Spurlock regretted using on two occasions.
"When I speak at schools, I try to express my views on difficult topics with humor and a joking mannerism. I try to connect with students by conveying my thoughts in an accessible form, using the same speech and tone that they or I would use in any other lively conversation," added the helmer, who pointed out that he never had any complaints before. "One student even said to me, 'you didn?t say anything that we aren?t going to hear later on TV,' and that was my sole intent.
The vulgar comments prompted principal Dennis Williams Jr. to end his presentation early and the Hatboro-Horsham Education Foundation to cancel a speech he was scheduled to give later that night.
"If you put the whole package together, the use of the F-word and poking fun at teachers and the comments about special-needs students, it just wasn't appropriate," Superintendent William Lessa told the Associated Press.
Aside from the potty mouth, Spurlock also reportedly crossed a line when he talked about "retarded kids in the back wearing helmets," as if he was dissing kids with disabilities, prompting teachers to remove special education students from the auditorium and take them back to class.
The helmer elaborated that the helmet quip was a "slacker reference" to a character played by Napoleon Dynamite star John Hedder in the upcoming comedy, Benchwarmers and his "retarded" remark was not intended to be malicious.
"It should be made clear that the only person I called ?retarded? was myself when I was unable to hear a question from the audience," noted Spurlock. "Having done work with special needs children in the past, something this hurtful would never come from my lips."
And last but not least, the doc maker said a comment he made about teachers getting high the balcony during a Q &A was not an insult but rather a wisecrack "at their expense for the enjoyment of students." He also clarified previous statements he gave to local media saying the "greatest lesson those kids learned was the importance of freedom of speech." Arguing people were misinterpreting them, Spurlock noted that exercising such speech didn't give people the right to insult anyone at will.
"I was referring to the fact that the group that hired me to speak asked that I not mention McDonald?s in any of my talk because one of their board members owns a franchise. That would be like asking Neil Armstrong to speak but tell him he can?t bring up walking on the moon, so needless to say, I didn?t agree to their censorship," wrote the filmmaker.
Whatever the adults may have thought about Spurlock's sermon, the kids were lovin' it, laughing the whole way through and giving him a standing ovation at the end.
When he's not speaking to the fast food generation, the writer-director is busy fending off a whopper of a lawsuit filed last May by a company called Cast Iron Partners seeking a hefty share of Super Size Me's profits for allegedly providing him with office space and business advice.
On Monday, Spurlock picked up a Oustanding Reality Program prize for a gay-themed installment of documentary series, 30 Days at the 17th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles.