Actor Tim Matheson faced swift backlash after insulting Melania Trump over her foreign accent that some deemed to be "xenophobic." The 73-year-old Hollywood actor, who is best known for his role as Eric "Otter" Stratton in the movie "National Lampoon's Animal House," tried to tweet his way out of trouble for ridiculing the former first lady.
While delivering a compliment to first lady Jill Biden, Matheson took a shot at Melania, who grew up in Slovenia before leaving for Italy after she signed a contract with a modeling agency in Milan at age 18.
In the since-deleted tweet, Matheson wrote, "So wonderful to have a First Lady with class and heart. And, can speak English!"
deleted, but the List comes for all, @Tim_Matheson. ✍🏼✍🏼✍🏼 https://t.co/FEvWoFoe6n— Siraj Hashmi in Gitmo (@Siraj Hashmi in Gitmo)1611371747.0
Matheson attempted to smooth over the degrading affront against Melania by saying, "This morning I made a hasty and stupid joke about the former First Lady. It wasn't funny, and it was in poor taste. It was regretful and humorless and I apologize."
This morning I made a hasty and stupid joke about the former First Lady. It wasn't funny, and it was in poor taste… https://t.co/m9t3ZNkbde— Tim Matheson (@Tim Matheson)1611358913.0
However, Twitter users pointed out that Matheson also deleted a previous tweet where he doubled-down on maligning Melania.
"Comedy is sometimes cruelly honest," the thespian maintained. "The ex-First Lady doesn't have any of my respect for anything. Sorry."
@Tim_Matheson and then reinforced it https://t.co/YV47dYoqwQ— Jessica O’Donnell (@Jessica O’Donnell)1611360713.0
Matheson, who played Vice President John Hoynes on the TV drama "The West Wing," was shellacked with retribution from online commenters over his denigratory jab.
One Twitter user replied, "It's because you're an out of touch actor no surprise. Stay ignorant ya racist."
Another person burst out, "You're a xenophobe and bigot. Your comments open yourself and any company you work for to discrimination lawsuits. I hope your victims of workplace harassment and discrimination come forward."
A son of immigrants schooled the actor, "Tim, my parents were doctors in Cuba who came to the US escaping Castro. After years of hard work they got their MD's again and practiced for 30 years. Still, throughout their professional lives here there were always fools like you who mocked their accents."
One critic added, "Yeah, showing your true colors. Love immigrants until they get here and become Americans and don't think the way you think they should and then you loathe them."
This isn't the first time a liberal Hollywood actor attacked Melania over her accent. Bette Midler bashed the former first lady in August for Melania's speech during the Republican National Convention.
"#beBest is back! A UGE bore! She can speak several words in a few languages. Get that illegal alien off the stage!" Middler mocked Melania. "Oh, God. She still can't speak English."
Middler was also smashed with backlash for her xenophobia.
Middler then attempted to justify the hateful remarks by saying, "Just giving them a taste of their own immigrant bashing medicine."
Following even more outrage, Middler finally bent the knee and mustered up an apology.
"Well, all hell has broken loose because I said Melania 'still can't speak English' last night," she tweeted. "I was wrong to make fun of her accent. America is made up people who speak with all kinds of accents, and they are all welcomed always."