Skip to main content

Heckler apologizes to Bristol Palin

By Ed Payne, CNN
updated 4:30 AM EDT, Wed September 28, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bristol Palin engages in a a heated exchange with a man
  • The man calls Sarah Palin a "whore"
  • Bristol Palin asks him if he's gay
  • The confrontation takes place during the taping of a reality TV show

(CNN) -- A heckler who got into a heated exchange with Bristol Palin at a Southern California bar and restaurant last week has apologized for the incident.

Palin had just finished riding a mechanical bull at the Saddle Ranch & Chop House when Stephen Hanks shouted, "Do you ride Levi like that? Your mother's a whore."

As cameras rolled, Palin walked over to him and asked Hanks to repeat what he'd said.

"Your mother's a ... devil, dude," Hanks said in a video posted on Hollywood.TV. "If there was a hell ... she will be there."

"Is this because you're a homosexual?" Palin asked.

"Pretty much," Hanks responded. "And why'd you say I'm a homosexual?"

"Because I can tell you are," Palin said.

As the confrontation went on, Hanks called Palin "white trash from Wasilla," her hometown in Alaska.

The exchange came during a taping of Palin's upcoming BIO Channel reality show.

"Having had an opportunity to view the camera footage of the incident this past Thursday ... , I have come to the conclusion that no matter what my feelings are towards Sarah Palin, I should not have expressed them towards her daughter, Bristol Palin," Hanks said in a statement released by his attorney Tuesday.

"I am very passionate about politics, and believe in equality for all Americans," Hanks continued. "I expressed my feelings in an improper manner in the heat of the moment, and allowed my emotions to get the better of me."

Media reports since the incident have questioned why Palin asked Hanks about his sexuality and whether the incident was a set-up for her new reality show.

"Bristol Palin was approached in a confrontational and inappropriate manner ... Bristol responded to the unprovoked verbal assault by calmly standing her ground and defending her family," a statement from a Palin family attorney said. "The situation ended with no incident, and accusing her of homophobia is completely unfounded and totally misstates her views."

A statement from Hanks' attorney, Michael Gulden, denied any connection to the TV show.

"Mr. Hanks would like to clarify that, to his knowledge, this incident was not 'set up' for Bristol Palin's forthcoming reality show, as has been suggested in various media reports," Gulden said." In fact Mr. Hanks was not even aware that cameras were filming the exchange."

CNN's Douglas Hyde and Breeanna Hare contributed to this report

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT