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Thursday, 29 November, 2001, 17:59 GMT
Church: 'Terror comments distorted'
Charlotte Church
Church won a Classical Brit award in 2000
Singing star Charlotte Church has said controversial views on 11 September terror attacks attributed to her in a UK newspaper were "distorted and misrepresentative".

Church said comments included in a Sunday Times interview published earlier this month - quoting her criticising the hero status afforded to New York firefighters who lost over 340 colleagues - were "quite upsetting for me to read".

World Trade Center towers
The singer has apologised for her interview comments

"The New York fire-fighters display remarkable courage and sacrifice every day and their work and efforts at Ground Zero are an extension of that," she said on Thursday.

The Cardiff-born 15-year-old - due to sing for President Bush next month - had issued a statement after the New York Post attacked her "devilish attitude".

Insisting her comments had been "misrepresented", she apologised "for any feelings that may have been hurt".

Church who has sung in front of an impressive array of world statesmen during a career which has made her one of most highly-paid performers in the UK, agreed to speak to the Sunday Times as she promoted her fourth album Enchantment.

During it, she was asked what it was like to visit Ground Zero during her recent trip to New York.

"I have an undying love for America and I would never choose to offend the place that holds a special place in my heart

Charlotte Church

She was quoted as saying:" I went to Ground Zero just as an ordinary person. It was awful, people taking debris to sell...

"Everyone there has to relate themselves to it. They are like 'Yeah, my neighbour's dogs' owners' sister's dog was involved, but he got out just in time'.

"It was a bit sick. People overdramatise and lose perspective."

As far as references to firefighters were concerned, Church was reported to have said: "They went from here in society to celebrities.

"They are even invited here to present television awards which I just don't agree with."

Such views have been met with anger by members of New York's Welsh-American community.

Geryrd Williams, 19, the son of a firefighter currently clearing debris at Ground Zero, dismissed her alleged comments as "childish".

New York Post reader
The New York Post wrote of its offence

"For somebody like Charlotte Church - who I'm sure has never lifted a finger in her life - to say this is ridiculous," he told BBC Radio Wales.

"Even if she does have these views as a celebrity I don't think she should come out and say it."

The interview also included Church's reaction to Sir Paul McCartney talking about how he witnessed the World Trade Center attacks.

She apparently said "There was Paul McCartney saying 'I witnessed the crash'.Who cares? Thousands witnessed it."

Church has insisted she does care.

"As for the statements on Sir Paul McCartney, I have nothing but the greatest respect for him as a performer and as a person," her statement read.

"I have an undying love for America and I would never choose to offend the place that holds a special place in my heart," it continues.

"America has embraced me and it has become a second home for me.

"I owe an immeasurable amount of gratitude to the American people and their acceptance of me and my music in the States."

Geryrd Williams, son of a New York firefighter
"For somebody like Charlotte Church who I'm sure has not lifted a finger in her life, to say that is ridiculous."
See also:

08 Dec 00 | Wales
Church's ex-manager seeks star
03 Jun 99 | Entertainment
Angel to sing for the President
19 Jan 01 | Wales
Church at Bush inauguration
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