Russell Crowe has apologised for criticising circumcision.

The Oscar-winning actor claimed the practice of cutting off a boy's foreskin - a Jewish religious requirement, a Common Muslim practice and a standard procedure on newborns in the US - was "barbaric and stupid" but has now said sorry for any offence he caused.

He wrote on his twitter page: "I'm very sorry that I have said things on here that have caused distress.

"My personal beliefs aside, I realise that some will interpret this... as me mocking rituals and traditions of others. I am very sorry."

Russell - who has two sons, Charlie, seven, and Tennyson, four, with wife Danielle Spencer - had previously 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. (sic)"

The tweet was in response to one of Russell's 228,000 followers, who asked his advice as to whether they should get their unborn baby "circumstanced (sic)".

This prompted Russell to reply: "Here's a life rule, if you can't spell it, don't do it. (sic)"

After being criticised by a number of his followers, Russell was quick to defend his viewpoint and make it clear he is not anti-Semitic.

He said: "Many jewish friends, I love my Jewish friends, I love the apples and the honey and the funny little hats but stop cutting your babies @eliroth (sic)"

The 'Gladiator' star is currently working with director Eli Roth on a new film, who replied to his tweet, joking: "You didn't seem to be complaining when I was recutting you this afternoon. (sic)"