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Actor says political comments taken ‘out of context’

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LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp said he intended no "anti-American sentiment" in comparing the nation to a dumb puppy and blamed news reports for misrepresenting his opinions.

Depp, star of the summer hit movie "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," apologized in a statement to those "who were offended, affected or hurt by this insanely twisted deformation of my words and intent." Stern, the German magazine that interviewed the actor, stood by its story.

Depp was quoted as saying that "America is dumb, is something like a dumb puppy that has big teeth — that can bite and hurt you, aggressive."

In a statement Thursday, the 40-year-old actor complained that "the inaccurate and out of context misquote" was "virulently spreading in the news."

"Taken in context, what I was saying was that, compared to Europe, America is a very young country and we are still growing as a nation. It is a shame that the metaphor I used was taken so radically out of context and slung about irresponsibly by the news media," Depp said.

"There was no anti-American sentiment. In fact, it was just the opposite," he said. "I am an American. I love my country and have great hopes for it. It is for this reason that I speak candidly and sometimes critically about it. I have benefited greatly from the freedom that exists in my country and for this I am eternally grateful."

Stern magazine news editor Hans-Peter Junker said Friday that Depp's quotes were "not taken out of context."

"Stern regrets that Johnny Depp is being criticized for his outspoken remarks in his homeland," Junker said. "Stern stands by its account."

Depp spends much of his time in the south of France with his companion, Vanessa Paradis, and their two children. According to the Stern article, Depp said he couldn't see himself paying more than short visits to his Los Angeles residence in the present political climate.