Actor Orlando Bloom said he "wasn't taking a slant" at Gypsy and traveller communities when he used the word "pikey" in a live radio interview.
Appearing on BBC Radio 1's Breakfast Show to promote his new film, the ex-public schoolboy from Canterbury said he was "a pikey from Kent".
The National Gypsy-Traveller-Roma Council said his use of the "racially abusive term is worrying".
Presenter Nick Grimshaw later apologised on air to listeners.
After the interview Hollywood star Bloom said: "I've come from Kent and I grew up with a lot of, like, freewheeling, cool, interesting characters like that.
"I certainly wasn't taking a slant at that at all. I'm very respectful."
He made the comment during an interview with Nick Grimshaw on Radio 1's Breakfast Show.
The host later told listeners: "So good to have Orlando Bloom on the show... he's a bit of a loose cannon.
"Apologies if you were offended by anything that Orlando may have said."
In a statement, Radio 1 added: "As with any live broadcast, we take great care to ensure all guests are briefed about their language before going on air.
"We apologised to listeners afterwards for any offence caused."