Footage of US President Barack Obama calling rapper Kanye West a "jackass" has hit the net.
Controversy continued to reign yesterday over West's appearance at Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards, when the rapper ran up on stage to protest 19-year-old country singer Taylor Swift's win for Best Female Video.
West, who had grabbed the microphone to say that Beyonce should have won the award, has apologised for stealing Swift's thunder, and told talk show host Jay Leno he is planning on taking some time off.
Even the president weighed in on the furore, calling West a "jackass" in an off-the-record portion of a political interview on TV given by the president to ABC News.
"The young lady seems like a perfectly nice person, she's getting her award ... What's he doing? He's a jackass," Obama said in audio released yesterday.
The remark was widely circulated by an ABC journalist who posted it on the social networking website Twitter. Footage of the incident has now been placed on YouTube.
The Associated Press reported ABC News had admitted it was wrong for its employees to release audio and footage of the incident, and the network apologised to the White House and CNBC.
The network said some of its employees had overheard a conversation between the president and CNBC's John Harwood and didn't realise it was considered off the record.
Harwood had sat down with the president to tape an interview following his appearance on Wall Street, AP reported.
Although they are competitors, CNBC and ABC share a fibre optic line to save money, and this enabled some ABC employees to listen in on the interview as it was being taped for later use.
West yesterday called Swift to personally apologise for the MTV Awards controversy.
Swift said she had accepted West's apology in a private telephone call made after she appeared on the ABC TV talk show The View.
"He was very sincere in his apology and I accepted that apology," Swift told ABC News Radio after receiving the call.
* Watch footage of the Barack Obama comment below.
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