The picture that sparked Halle Berry's anti-semitic controversy

Society Materials 25 October 2007 10:26 (UTC +04:00)
The picture that sparked Halle Berry's anti-semitic controversy

(dailymail.co.uk) - It is a photograph Halle Berry will quickly want to forget. Not just because the distorted image is less than flattering to the Hollywood beauty, but because her reaction to it on a U.S. chat show has landed her in a race row.

Shown a picture of herself that had been digitally altered to give her a big nose, the actress said it made her look like her "Jewish cousin".

Last night the embarrassed Oscar-winner issued a grovelling apology for her comments, which were made during a recording of Jay Leno's Tonight Show.

Although the word "Jewish" was blanked out at Miss Berry's request when the interview was aired, shocked members of the live audience leaked details of her remarks on the Internet.

"She introduced the first photo by saying, 'Here's where I look like my Jewish cousin.' It was a picture of her with a huge, distorted nose," said one audience member.

"No one laughed, and Jay nervously said, 'I'm glad you said that and not me.'"

Another audience member at last Friday's show in Hollywood added: "Miss Berry should know how unbelievably inappropriate her comment was. She should be ashamed of herself."

The one-time Bond girl seemed to quickly realise her gaffe.

"Oh God," she told Leno, "Have I just ruined my career?"

Last night, Miss Berry, 41, a stern critic of racism in Hollywood, insisted: "I didn't mean to offend anybody. It was just supposed to be a silly segment."

The pregnant star, who is in London promoting her film Things We Lost In The Fire, said she had been checking the photos backstage with three Jewish members of her staff before the show.

She said: "One of my Jewish friends said, 'That could be your Jewish cousin.'

"I guess it was fresh in my mind and it just came out of my mouth. But I didn't mean to offend anybody.

"After the show I realised it could be seen as offensive so asked Jay to take it out.

"It was just a light-hearted segment that was meant to make fun of myself.

"There was a picture where I said I looked like Monica Lewinsky and one where I said I looked like Jay. I am so sorry."