CHICAGO (CBS) — Film critic Roger Ebert is apologizing for a controversial tweet that used the N-word.

In reference to the story about new editions of Mark Twain’s classic, Huckleberry Finn, replacing the N-word with the word “slave,” Ebert tweeted Wednesday, “I’d rather be called a n****r than a slave.”

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A controversy quickly erupted online.

On the LiveJourrnal celebrity gossip community website “Oh No They Didn’t,” a user identified only as 1cupofrpattz took offense to Ebert’s tweet.

“It’s not that I agree with people updating Mark Twain’s work, which is supposed to reflect the reality people faced back then… but I just *really* hated that he felt the right to use the word, that he felt the right to choose with word is better (did he forget he’s white?)” 1cupofrpattz wrote.

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Linking to 1cupofrpattz’s post in a later tweet, Ebert posted Thursday: “You know, this is very true. I’ll never be called a n****r *or* a slave, so I should have shut the **** up.”

Ebert eliminated with asterisks the presumed expletive modifying “shut up” in the more recent tweet. The N-word was not censored in either tweet.

On Tuesday, Publishers Weekly reported that Twain scholar Alan Gribben had partnered with NewSouth Books to release a version of Huckleberry Finn that replaces the N-word with “slave.” It also removes the word “Injun.”

The N-word appears in Huckleberry Finn 219 times.

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Gribben told Publishers Weekly that removing the slurs was not an attempt to render the book colorblind, but is “a matter of how you express that in the 21st century.”