LOS ANGELES - A Jewish group said Wednesday that it accepts Will Smith's explanation that he never praised Adolf Hitler in remarks the star says were misinterpreted.
"We welcome and accept Will Smith's statement that Hitler was a `vicious killer' and that he did not mean for his remarks about the Nazi leader to be mistaken as praise," Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement.
Smith "took immediate steps to clarify his words" and condemn Hitler, Foxman said.
Foxman said words "can be twisted by those with hate and bigotry in their hearts."
"This is why all celebrities bear a special responsibility to weigh their words carefully, and an obligation to speak out against racism and bigotry whenever even a whiff of it appears, as Will Smith has done in this instance," he said.
The Daily Record, a Scottish newspaper, recently quoted Smith as saying: "Even Hitler didn't wake up going, `let me do the most evil thing I can do today.' I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was `good.'"
The quote was preceded by the writer's observation: "Remarkably, Will believes everyone is basically good."
Many celebrity gossip Web sites posted articles alleging that the 39-year-old actor believed Hitler was a good person.
In a statement Monday, Smith called that "an awful and disgusting lie," and said he was furious about his remarks being misinterpreted.
"Adolf Hitler was a vile, heinous vicious killer responsible for one of the greatest acts of evil committed on this planet," the statement said.