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Val Kilmer took a big step in making amends with his New Mexico neighbors after his remarks about the area upset many. In a 2003 interview with Rolling Stone, the actor said he lived in "homicide capital of the Southwest" and that 80 percent "of the people in my county are drunk." Kilmer initially denied his statements, but the magazine stood by their article and a few days later took out ads in the Santa Fe New Mexican to assert that he loves New Mexico.
Yesterday, Kilmer -- who soon hopes to open his Pecos River Ranch -- stood before the San Miguel County Commission during a hearing in Las Vegas, N.M, to express his regrets about his choice of words, according to the Associated Press. The actor (last seen in this summer's comedy flop MacGruber) has resided in the region for more than twenty years and has close family ties there.
"I can only ask that you view my apology as a stepping stone toward repairing this misunderstanding between us so that we can go forward, working together toward a common interest in promoting and protecting our beloved New Mexico," he said during the hearing.
The insensitivity of the remarks was not lost on Kilmer, as he told the AP before the meeting, "I have the same concerns as anyone else when you hear negative things about a place you love. That's the good part of this story. Really, they care about where they live, and I do too. I share their concerns." Kilmer also said he feels guilty that "I haven't done enough work to make sure people know this isn't me. I'm on the other side of the fight."
Many, in fact, seemed ready to forgive and forget, including County Attorney Jesus Lopez, who said, "I hope we can put this to bed today and all live as neighbors." Commission chairman David Salazar acknowledged, "It took a lot, I think, for him to come down here and face everybody. It takes a lot to apologize, and a lot of people wouldn't have done it, but he chose to come down here and do what he did, and I think he was sincere."
Do you think Val Kilmer made an honest mistake with his initial statements about New Mexico? Chime in below!