LOS ANGELES, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Sean Penn offended many viewers by making a green card joke at the 87th Academy Awards.
The 54-year-old actor was on hand to present an award for Best Picture, and quipped "Who gave this son of a bitch his green card?" before announcing Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu as the winner for Birdman.
The gibe immediately caused an angry stir on social media, with celebrities such as Mario Lopez calling the comment "tacky" and inappropriate on Twitter. Inarritu dedicated the win to his fellow Mexicans, and said he didn't find Penn's joke offensive when he spoke to Variety backstage.
"I found it hilarious," he declared. "Sean and I had that kind of brutal relationship where only true friendship can survive. When I was directing him in 21 Grams, he was always making jokes ... I made a lot of very tough jokes [to him] that I will not tell you."
Birdman was nominated for nine awards at the annual Oscars ceremony, and won four, including Best Picture and Best Director for Inarritu. The film stars Michael Keaton as a washed up actor planning his comeback, with Emma Stone as his daughter.
Inarritu is also known for Babel and Biutiful, and will direct Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy in new revenge film The Revenant. Penn last appeared in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and will star with Idris Elba in The Gunman come March 20.