NEW YORK (AFP) - American pop star Ariana Grande insisted on Wednesday that she "loves" her country after a furore over a jibe that she said was aimed at obesity.
A video at a California doughnut shop showed Grande and one of her back-up dancers playfully licking the sugary pastries while they were still on the counter.
Gossip site TMZ released the video and outrage erupted on social media over how Grande, upon seeing a new tray of doughnuts, is heard saying a profanity and then: "I hate America." As the controversy grew, the svelte 22-year-old said her remark came from her distaste for American overeating.
"I am EXTREMELY proud to be an American and I've always made it clear that I love my country," she said in a statement.
"What I said in a private moment with my friend, who was buying the doughnuts, was taken out of context and I am sorry for not using more discretion with my choice of words."
Grande, whose dance pop has rarely been political, called for greater awareness "about the dangers of overeating and the poison that we put into our bodies". "We need to demand more from our food industry," she said.
She voiced concern that the United States "has the highest child obesity rate in the world". A study last year by the OECD group of developed economies showed that the United States had a higher-than-average child obesity rate, although several countries including Greece and New Zealand fared worse.
Amid the controversy, Grande was replaced as the headline entertainment for next week's Major League Baseball All-Star Game by singer Demi Lovato.
However, Grande said the change was because she is undergoing oral surgery.