Russell Crowe Russell Crowe

Russell Crowe apologized for comments he made on Twitter that were critical of the practice of circumcision.

After a fan asked the Oscar winner Thursday about circumcision, Crowe tweeted, "Circumcision is barbaric and stupid. Who are you to correct nature? Is it real that God requires a donation of foreskin? Babies are perfect."

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Crowe then asked his Jewish friends, including Eli Roth

, to stop the longstanding tradition. "I love my Jewish friends, I love the apples and the honey and the funny little hats, but stop cutting your babies," he wrote. To which Roth replied: "You didn't seem to be complaining when I was recutting you this afternoon..."

"I will always stand for the perfection of babies. I will always believe in God, not man's interpretation of what God requires," Crowe continued. "Last of it, if you feel it is your right to cut things off your babies please unfollow and f--- off; I'll take attentive parenting over barbarism."

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By Friday, Crowe, who has two sons with wife Danielle Spencer, deleted the previous tweets and wrote an apology: "I have a deep and abiding love for all people of all nationalities, I'm very sorry that I have said things on here that have caused distress," he wrote. "My personal beliefs aside I realize that some will interpret this debate as me mocking the rituals and traditions of others. I am very sorry."Roth defended Crowe Friday, saying the actor is not anti-Semitic, as has been suggested by some publications and that the two were joking. "Russell is a great person and respectful of all religions," he told TMZ. "The press is trying to terrify celebrities into not using Twitter.  They want to show they can still ruin you. It's sickening."