Stephen Fry has unreservedly apologised for remarks which appeared to suggest survivors of sexual abuse should "grow up".
The actor and broadcaster, who is also president of mental health charity Mind, came under fire for the comments he made during US talk show The Rubin Report.
In a statement on the Mind website, he said: "It distresses me greatly to think that I have upset anyone in the course of the TV interview I had with David Rubin the other week.
"I of course apologise unreservedly for hurting feelings the way I did. That was never my purpose."
He added: "There are few experiences more terrible, traumatic and horrifying than rape and abuse and if I gave the impression that I belittled those crimes and the effects they have on their victims then I am so, so sorry.
"It seems I must have utterly failed to get across what I was actually trying to say and instead offended and upset people who didn't deserve to be offended or upset."
Mind said: "We understand why some people may have been upset by Stephen Fry's remarks in a recent American TV interview.
"Stephen was speaking in a personal context, giving his own views as part of a longer discussion on the subject of freedom of speech."
The charity went on to praise Fry for the "huge amount" he has done to raise awareness and understanding about bipolar disorder and other mental health problems.
During the controversial interview which host Dave Rubin shared on YouTube on April 4, Fry said: "There are many great plays which contain rapes, and the word rape now is even considered a rape.
"They're terrible things and they have to be thought about, clearly, but if you say you can't watch this play, you can't watch Titus Andronicus, or you can't read it in a Shakespeare class, or you can't read Macbeth because it's got children being killed in it, it might trigger something when you were young that upset you once, because uncle touched you in a nasty place, well, I'm sorry."
The 58-year-old continued: "It's a great shame and we're all very sorry that your uncle touched you in that nasty place - you get some of my sympathy - but your self-pity gets none of my sympathy because self-pity is the ugliest emotion in humanity."
He went on to say: "Grow up."
Fry was criticised by victims of sexual assault, including Tracey Merrett who wrote the actor an open letter in The New Day.
"I felt angry that you would say such heartless, glib things so publicly – tarring us all with one big 'abuse' brush," she said.
Fry is currently working in America.