A Missouri congressman has apologized to the family and fans of Amy Winehouse after being criticized for comparing the dead British singer to the U.S. economy.
Republican Rep. Billy Long posted on his Twitter account, @auctnr1, on Monday:
“No one could reach #AmyWinehouse before it was too late. Can anyone reach Washington before it's too late? Both addicted - same fate???”
The tweet stirred up a firestorm as fans and the media bashed his comment.
British paper the Daily Mail wondered in its coverage if Long’s tweet was the "height of bad taste” and described the state representative's 140-word comparison of U.S. spending and Winehouse's death as the “crudest of metaphors."
Twitter users chided Long for "staying classy" and another called his comment "the dumbest tweet ever."
The first-term congressman responded hours later to local paper Springfield News-Leader about his Twitter post and sent his apology to the paper via text message:
"Although I do believe spending 42 percent more than we take in is an addiction, I certainly meant no disrespect to Amy, her family or her fans," Long told the paper.
He added, "She was one of the few true artists to come along in a long time. What happened to her was a senseless tragedy and drawing an analogy wasn't meant to minimize the loss of life."
As of Tuesday afternoon, Long has yet to delete the post comparing Winehouse's tragic death to the debt ceiling debate from his Twitter feed.
Long’s Twitter faux pas happened to occur on the same day Microsoft had to apologize to angry followers of its @tweetbox360 Twitter account for its own ill-received Twitter comment on Winehouse’s death.
The Twitter post encouraged fans to use the company’s Zune music service to purchase the British singer’s music. Microsoft later apologized, assuring fans that the tweet was not "commercially motivated" and also expressed condolences to Winehouse’s family.
Winehouse, the singing sensation who attracted fans from all over the world, was buried Tuesday in a private ceremony attended by friends and family in London.
The troubled star, who battled publicly with alcohol and drug addictions, was found dead in her London home on July 23.
Autopsy reports have so far been inconclusive, with no firm information as to what may have caused the singer's death. Winehouse was 27.