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Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner apologize for calling female 'Avengers' character derogatory terms

Chris Evans arrives at the Los Angeles premiere

Chris Evans arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Avengers: Age Of Ultron" on April 13, 2015. Credit: AP / Jordan Strauss

"Avengers: Age of Ultron" stars Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner apologized Thursday for jokingly using derogatory terms about Scarlett Johansson's superspy character, Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow.

"Yesterday we were asked about the rumors that Black Widow wanted to be in a relationship with both Hawkeye and Captain America," Evans, 33, who plays Steve Rogers aka Captain America, said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly. "We answered in a very juvenile and offensive way that rightfully angered some fans. I regret it and sincerely apologize."

Renner, 44, who plays Clint Barton aka Hawkeye, said in a statement to the magazine, "I am sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone. It was not meant to be serious in any way. Just poking fun during an exhausting and tedious press tour."

In an interview posted Tuesday on the British website, Evans and Renner briefly joke that Romanoff is "a slut" and "a complete whore."

In Marvel Studios' movies, the character -- an agent for the espionage and peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D. -- is a highly capable, strongly independent multilingual woman trained in tradecraft including martial arts, marksmanship and computer hacking since her early childhood in Russia. Until this movie, Black Widow has not been shown as having any specific romantic involvements.

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