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George Lucas apologizes for calling Disney ‘white slavers’ in Star Wars interview

Earlier this week, Star Wars creator George Lucas found himself at the center of some controversy when he said the sale of the beloved sci-fi franchise and his Lucasfilm movie studio to Disney was like selling his children to “white slavers.” The iconic filmmaker has now apologized for his comments, and issued both a clarification and a lengthy statement about his relationship with Disney.

Saying that he has “great respect” for Disney and CEO Bob Iger, Lucas acknowledged that he used a “very inappropriate analogy” to describe his feelings about the 2012 sale.

Related: George Lucas likens the sale of Star Wars rights to selling his kids to ‘white slavers’

The full text of Lucas’ statement reads as follows:

“I want to clarify my interview on the Charlie Rose Show. It was for the Kennedy Center Honors and conducted prior to the premiere of the film. I misspoke and used a very inappropriate analogy and for that I apologize.

I have been working with Disney for 40 years and chose them as the custodians of Star Wars because of my great respect for the company and Bob Iger’s leadership. Disney is doing an incredible job of taking care of and expanding the franchise. I rarely go out with statements to clarify my feelings but I feel it is important to make it clear that I am thrilled that Disney has the franchise and is moving it in such exciting directions in film, television and the parks. Most of all I’m blown away with the record breaking blockbuster success of the new movie and am very proud of JJ and Kathy.”

Founded by Lucas in 1971, Lucasfilm went on to become the home of both the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, and was sold to The Walt Disney Company in 2012 for approximately $4.06 billion.