Sean Penn opened up about his Oscar green-card joke on Saturday in Beverly Hills during a promotional tour for his new film "The Gunman," saying that he has "absolutely no apologies" for his comment. The actor-director also offered up choice words for those who didn't recognize the irony in his remarks.

On Feb. 22 at the 87th Oscars, Penn, presenting the best picture award, made waves when he opened the envelope and first asked "Who gave this son of a (expletive) his green card?" before announcing the ­winner as "Birdman."

Directed by the Mexican-born Alejandro Iñárritu, many wondered whether the joke was distasteful. The term "green card" refers to a document that confers permanent residency on immigrants in the U.S. "I found it hilarious," Iñárritu said. "Sean and I have that kind of brutal (relationship) where only true friendship can survive." Iñárritu directed Penn in the 2003 film "21 Grams" and the two remain close. "I make on him a lot of very tough jokes that I will not tell you," Iñárritu added.

While Iñárritu's casual dismissal of any perceived offense helped to ­temper the public response to the comment, Penn has remained largely silent on the topic. "I'm always surprised by flagrant stupidity. I keep having more hope," said Penn of the widespread outrage that followed the moment.

NBC's new leader has work cut out

NBC has taken took a step toward stabilizing its troubled news operations by rehiring Andrew Lack to oversee NBC News and MSNBC, placing the two operations in the hands of a seasoned executive. Lack, 67, oversaw NBC News in its heyday in the 1990s, when such franchises as the "Today" show, "Meet the Press" and "Dateline NBC" were dominant. During his tenure as NBC News president from 1993 to 2001, the company also started MSNBC. But NBC's news operations are now in disarray. Most recently, the network suspended its lead anchor, Brian Williams, for six months for exaggerating his reporting experiences. And MSNBC, restyled over the past decade from a straight news operation into a liberal alternative to Fox News, has faced anemic audience ratings as well. Lack jumped from CBS to NBC News in 1993 at a similar moment of crisis — as the network faced widespread criticism for rigging a truck crash on a segment of "Dateline NBC."

Columbia lecturer: George Clooney's wife is joining the Columbia University faculty as a visiting lecturer. Lawyer Amal Clooney will lecture on human rights this spring and serve as a senior fellow with its law school's Human Rights Institute.

Associated Press