Gerry Adams caught a viewing of Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained on Sunday and was perhaps a little too enthusiastic in sharing his thoughts on it. The leader of Ireland's Sinn Fein party posted in a now-deleted tweet: "Watching Django Unchained - A Ballymurphy [N-word]!" Cue the backlash over what he now says was an "ironic" choice of words, the Guardian reports. Per the BBC, Adams has since apologized for the tweet—which CNN notes differed from his usual stream of dog, trampoline, and stuffed-animal tweets—but insists he was merely trying to compare the struggles of the 2012 movie's title character (a freed slave dealing with pre-Civil War racism) to Irish nationalists who were murdered in 1971's Ballymurphy Massacre in the Ballymurphy section of Belfast (nearly a dozen people were killed by British soldiers).
"Attempts to suggest that I am a racist are without credibility," Adams says in a statement on the Sinn Fein website. "I am opposed to racism and have been all my life," thought at a Monday press conference in Belfast he acknowledged that his use of the N-word was "inappropriate." The Guardian points out that Adams and other nationalists have often tried to paint their troubles as similar to those of blacks, both in the US and post-colonial states, and that Sinn Fein has participated in anti-racism campaigns in Ireland. A Northern Ireland pol, however, says it's "insulting to dismiss the suffering of the slaves in such a flippant manner," while another says the tweet showed a "staggering deficiency in judgment" on Adams' part. Meanwhile, a Belfast activist tweeted: "White, male millionaires don't have a right to use the 'n' word. #gerryadams."