Photo Credit: NME
UPDATE: Lady Gaga has issued a statement to PerezHilton.com to apologize for her casual use of the word "retarded."
"I consider it part of my life's work and music to push the boundaries of love and acceptance," she says. "My apologies for not speaking thoughtfully. To anyone that was hurt, please know that it was furiously unintentional. An honest mistake, requires honesty to make. Whether life's disabilities, left you outcast bullied or teased, rejoice and love yourself today."
Lady Gaga is no stranger to controversy. The "Born This Way" singer is constantly raising eyebrows with her outspoken lyrics and eccentric style -- but in a recent interview with NME magazine, her colorful choice of words didn't exactly hit the right note.
While discussing the constant comparisons between her song "Born This Way" and Madonna's "Express Yourself," Gaga, 25, vehemently denied that she intentionally copied the Material Girl's tune.
"I swear to you. I am not stupid enough to put out a record and be that moronic," she says. "Listen to me. Why the f--k…? I'm a songwriter. I've written loads of music. Why would I try to put out a song and think I'm getting one over on everybody? That's retarded. What a completely ridiculous thing to even question me about."
Now Gaga's casual use of the word "retarded" has activists calling for action.
"The 'Spread the Word to End the Word' campaign is for everyone to learn more about the hurtful impact of the R-word on people with intellectual disabilities, their families and friends," Kirsten Seckler, a spokeswoman for the Special Olympics, tells E! News. "We invite Lady Gaga to join our campaign by visiting r-word.org and taking the pledge and hope that she will use her voice to help us eliminate harmful language toward our athletes -- as she has done for so many others."
Though sources at NME magazine say Lady Gaga was visibly upset during the interview due to the line of questioning and insinuation that she had plagiarized Madonna's song, that's not getting her off the hook.
A rep for the "R" Word Campaign says the word is just plain offensive.
"It's unfortunate whenever a celebrity uses the ‘r' word in careless expression," the group said in a statement. "The use of the ‘r' word offends millions of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and their friends. We remind everyone who is offended by the use of this ugly word that it's okay to stand up and say that you are offended. It's not about freedom of speech, its simply about respect."
The singer has only herself to blame for this latest snafu -- but it turns out another recent piece of Lady Gaga drama wasn't her fault at all!
"Weird Al" Yankovic came forward this week saying that the pop star had banned him from releasing his parody of her song "Born This Way." But it turns out it was Gaga's manager who rejected the silly tune -- without even telling his client about it.
"Gaga's manager has now admitted that he never forwarded my parody to Gaga -- she had no idea at all," Weird Al blogged on April 20. "Even though we assumed that Gaga herself was the one making the decision (because, well, that's what we were TOLD), he apparently made the decision completely on his own. He's sorry. And Gaga loves the song."
Well that settles it: Lady Gaga can take a joke!