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July 02, 2018 03:55 PM

Pete Davidson has come under fire for a resurfaced joke he made last fall about the terrorist bombing attack at his now-fiancée Ariana Grande‘s Manchester Arena concert, but a source close to the comedian says his act is being taken out of context.

During a stand-up show at a benefit to support Puerto Rico last fall, the Saturday Night Live actor commented on Grande’s fame. According to the Mirror he joked, “Britney Spears didn’t have a terrorist attack at her concert,” referencing the tragedy which killed 22 people and injured over 800 in May 2017.

While Charlotte Hodgson, whose 15-year-old daughter Olivia Campbell-Hardy was killed in the attack, has blasted Davidson, telling the Mirror his joke was “disgusting,” a source close to the comedian says his joke is misunderstood.

“The joke was taken out of context,” says the source. “He lost his dad in 9/11 and is close with other victims of violent tragedies. As a way of coping he turns to humor.”

Ariana Grane and Pete Davidson
Michael Kovac/AMA2016/Getty; Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Hodgson told the Mirror, “We don’t need jokes about it, there have been plenty around, and it’s heartbreaking to hear every day. But for someone so famous to be doing it and now to be with Ariana, it’s outrageous.”

Says the source: “He’s obviously sensitive to tragedy as he lost his own father and his intention is to just make people laugh.”

Amid the news, the star has been enjoying his time with his new wife-to-be.

During a walk with her beau in Manhattan on Monday, Grande appeared to be sporting new ink on the top of her foot: “8418,” the badge number worn by the 24-year-old actor’s dad, firefighter Scott Davidson, who died during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City.

Davidson has the same numbers inked on his left forearm.

RELATED: Ariana Grande’s Tattoo Pays Tribute to Fiancé Pete Davidson’s Father, Who Died on 9/11

This isn’t the first time the couple have gotten permanent body art to show their dedication to their whirlwind relationship and engagement. In June, Davidson got a tattoo of a black bunny mask, which looks similar to an accessory Grande, 25, wore on the cover art for her last album Dangerous Woman, and the initials “AG” on his hand.

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