Ted Turner apologises for 'Jesus Freaks' comment
Outspoken US media mogul Ted Turner apologised on Friday for calling Catholic employees of CNN "Jesus freaks" for displaying ashes on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday.
"I apologise to all Christians for my comment about Catholics wearing ashes on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday," Turner, the founder of the Cable News Network and vice chairman of AOL Time Warner Inc., said in a statement.
"I do not believe in any form of prejudice or discrimination, especially religious intolerance."
Turner, 62, made his comment at CNN's offices in Washington.
Noticing several staffers had ashes on their foreheads to mark the religious holiday, Turner reportedly stared at them and said, "I realised you're just Jesus freaks. Shouldn't you guys be working for (rival network) Fox?"
The comment from Turner, who once said Christianity was "for losers," had drawn fire from Christian groups.
William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said Turner had "a anti-Christian bias that runs deep in his bones," according to the New York Post newspaper.
The Wall Street Journal said on Friday in its Review & Outlook column that Turner's comment was part of a "larger revisionism" that portrayed churches, mosques and synagogues as "incipient threats to the American way of life."
Asked about Turner's apology, Donohue said in a statement that the Catholic League would "bite our lip and drop the issue, skeptical though we are."