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July 05, 2017 02:16 PM

Damon Wayans, Jr. kicked off the Fourth of July with some fireworks of his own.

The 34-year-old comedian and former New Girl star made a joke about race on Twitter Tuesday that appeared to inspire the ire of many of his followers, who criticized him for allegedly lacking of patriotism (among other things).

“Happy white people proud of their racist ancestors day,” Wayans wrote in a tweet that has received more than 1,600 comments.

“When I think of all the men and women who have died for our independence, laughter does not come to mind,” wrote one user.

“You just live in the best country in the world. You should thank God that you live in America,” said another.

Many veterans also expressed their outrage, including one who wrote, “Maybe you can join the military so you can show a little more appreciation of the freedom I and my patriot brothers provide for you.”

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For his part, Wayans stood by his words.

“Yep, it was a joke,” he told one critic. “But feel free to be offended by it. ;)”

He also replied to a user who viewed Wayans’ tweet as “just another example of Hollywood talking down to Americans.”

“They hate this country and their fans,” the user wrote. “#FabrictedRacism sadly returns.”

Wayans remained defensive, calling his tweet, “a joke some took too personally.”

“So what,” he said. “Jokes aren’t illegal.”

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