Madonna arrives to promote her latest gym in her Hard Candy Fitness centre chain in Berlin on October 17, 2013. Photo: Tobias Schwarz


MADONNA has become embroiled in an online racism row after using the ‘*-word’ to describe her son – in what she claimed was a term of endearment.

The singer apologised for using the bizarre hashtag ‘#disn****’ in a caption accompanying a photo of 13-year-old Rocco Ritchie boxing.

Her apology followed a furious backlash from her online followers, incensed at her use of the word.

One wrote: ‘MADONNA U NEED TO TAKE UR arthritis medicine instead of trying to be hip on the internet.’

The 55-year-old posted the comment on Instagram on Friday night. It read: ‘No one messes with Dirty Soap! [Madonna’s slang name for Rocco]. Mama said knock you out! #disn****’

She later deleted the message – which appears to have meant something along the lines of ‘That’s my boy!’ – and issued the apology.

‘I am sorry if I offended anyone with my use of the *-word on Instagram,’ she wrote on Facebook.

‘It was not meant as a racial slur. I am not a racist. There’s no way to defend the use of the word. It was all about intention.

‘It was used as a term of endearment toward my son, who is white.

‘I appreciate that it’s a provocative word and I apologise if it gave people the wrong impression. Forgive me.’

But Miranda Suit of the Safer-media campaign group criticised the singer yesterday, saying she should act more responsibly towards her impressionable young fans and be careful about which words she decides to ‘popularise’.

‘She had a huge following on social media and therefore a huge responsibility to set a good example on how we use language – or more importantly don’t use racist language. It is a real shame at her age that she still fails to identify that she has the ability to popularise ideas and slang and actually she could help put a stop to the use of racist terminology.

Miss Suit added: ‘The fact she is making the comments in relation to her son opens up the floor once more to an even younger audience of followers.

‘This is an impressionable audience to which she has a responsibility not just as a pop star but as an adult setting an example.’

Many online followers were also incensed, with one adding: ‘Spreading ignorance is awful!’

But some fans did come to Madonna’s defence, saying that she had simply used the urban slang for ‘my boy’ without meaning to be offensive.

One supporter even said she deserved a pass to use the *-word because she ‘has basically adopted half of Africa’ entertainment website reported.

Madonna has two adopted children from Malawi, eight-year-olds David Banda and Mercy James.

She had Rocco with her former husband, British film director Guy Ritchie, in 2000.

The singer also has a 17-year-old daughter, Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, from a previous relationship with Cuban-born personal trainer Carlos Leon. - Daily Mail