George Lucas, creator and director of the Star Wars franchise, found himself in hot water after calling Disney execs “white slavers” during a lengthy interview with newsman Charlie Rose. 

“I sold them to the white slavers that takes these things, and…,” Lucas said before laughing and deciding it better not to finish.

During the interview, Lucas also talked about how he and Disney disagreed on parts of the movie. “They looked at the stories, and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans,’” Lucas said. “They decided they didn’t want to use those stories, they decided they were going to do their own thing.… They weren’t that keen to have me involved anyway — but if I get in there, I’m just going to cause trouble, because they’re not going to do what I want them to do. And I don’t have the control to do that anymore, and all I would do is muck everything up,” he said. “And so I said, ‘Ok, I will go my way, and I’ll let them go their way.'”

After the interview aired, Lucas backtracked and said he was “thrilled” with how Disney took his idea and created the box office-smashing hit movie. Lucas apologized for the “very inappropriate analogy” he used in comparing Disney to “white slavers.”

“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,” Lucas said in his statement, issued Thursday afternoon by Disney. “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.”

The comment the director made caused a frenzy on social media with fans defending Lucas while others judged him for biting the hand that fed him.

The Star Wars director was says he was ultimately “blown away with the record breaking blockbuster success” of the current hit, The Force Awakens.

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