After Qassem Soleimani, one of the most powerful figures in the Islamic Republic, was killed early Friday in an airstrike in Baghdad, actress and activist Rose McGowan tweeted an apology to the people of Iran, sparking heavy backlash. Now, she is defending her statement, saying she simply wants to avoid further bloodshed.
"Dear #Iran, The USA has disrespected your country, your flag, your people. 52% of us humbly apologize," McGowan tweeted Friday. "We want peace with your nation. We are being held hostage by a terrorist regime. We do not know how to escape. Please do not kill us."
She quickly received tens of thousands of replies, many of which criticized her as anti-American. McGowan doubled down, calling the United States "morally corrupt."
"Of course #Soleimani was an evil evil man who did evil evil things," McGowan tweeted. "But…The United States is morally corrupt and acts illegally. It is only logical to appeal to Iran's pride by apologizing."
McGowan also tweeted, "I do not side with Iran, but I most definitely do not side with the USA."
The Defense Department blamed Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds military force, for the deaths of hundreds of Americans, and said he was behind recent attacks on coalition bases in Iraq. The strike drew a vow of "crushing revenge" from Iran.
Later in the day, McGowan appeared to backtrack on some of her earlier statements.
"Ok, so I freaked out because we may have any impending war," she tweeted. "Sometimes it's okay to freak out on those in power. It's our right. That is what so many Brave soldiers have fought for. That is democracy. I do not want any more American soldiers killed. That's it."
In an interview with The Associated Press, McGowan said she just wants "America to be better," but does not support Iran over the U.S. She defended her statements, and said they are not anti-American, but admitted that they were unusual.
"So, I just thought I would do something a little strange or unusual ... bloodshed should be avoided if you can," she told AP. "And I kind of just thought, what if I take a really bizarre way around this. A very strange thought, I understand."