Bristol Palin heckler gets threats; apologizes

Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:23pm EDT

Bristol Palin arrives at the Candie's Foundation 10th anniversary Event to Prevent benefit in New York May 3, 2011. The aim of the organization is to prevent teenage pregnancy. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Bristol Palin arrives at the Candie's Foundation 10th anniversary Event to Prevent benefit in New York May 3, 2011. The aim of the organization is to prevent teenage pregnancy.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer

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LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - The man who lambasted Bristol Palin at a West Hollywood watering hole last week has apologized for the incident, calling his behavior "improper."

He has also received a number of threats since the incident occurred, according to his attorney.

In a statement furnished to TheWrap by his attorney, Stephen Hanks -- who, among other things, called Palin's mother, former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin "a whore" -- says that, while he's still not a big fan of Bristol's mother, it was wrong to take out his anger on Bristol.

"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 toward Sarah Palin, I should not have expressed them toward her daughter, Bristol Palin."

Hanks continues, "I am very passionate about politics, and believe in equality for all Americans. I expressed my feelings in an improper manner in the heat of the moment, and allowed my emotions to get the better of me … 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' apology might have been prompted by more than a change of heart. In the statement, Hanks' attorney notes that "numerous threats have been made against Mr. Hanks, his friends, family, colleagues, and even his pets."

The attorney concludes, "Mr. Hanks would like to place the incident behind him, and hopes that the media and public will respect his rights and privacy."

The statement also denies reports that Hanks was a plant for the benefit of Palin's reality series.

"Mr. Hanks would like to clarify that, to his knowledge, this incident was not 'set up' for Bristol Palin's forthcoming reality show," the statement reads. "In fact, Mr. Hanks was not even aware that cameras were filming the exchange."

During the confrontation, which occurred while Palin was filming for her upcoming reality series for BIO, Bristol asked Hanks if he disliked Sarah because he's gay.

"Is it because you're a homosexual? …hat's why you hate her?" Palin asked.

When Hanks asked Palin how she knew he was gay, Palin replied, "Because I can tell you are."

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