Michael Eisner arrives for opening night for "An American In Paris," at the Palace Theater in New York City on April 12, 2015.
Sylvain Gaboury—AP
July 6, 2015 8:29 PM EDT

Michael Eisner has released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter clarifying his earlier remark about beautiful, funny women in the movie business.

“In the context of a public conversation with Goldie Hawn in which I was complimenting her on being both beautiful and funny, I said such a combination is hard to come by in Hollywood,” the former Disney CEO clarified in the statement. “I certainly did not say Goldie was the only one. My point was simply that Goldie, unlike many, has not been defined exclusively as one or the other.”

The statement comes after Eisner was widely criticized for the comment he made last week at the Aspen Ideas Festival during an onstage conversation with Hawn.

“From my position, the hardest artist to find is a beautiful, funny woman. By far,” Eisner said. “They usually — boy am I going to get in trouble, I know this goes online — but usually, unbelievably beautiful women, you being an exception, are not funny.”

Hawn replied, saying she owed her comedic talent to the fact that she perceived herself as an “ugly duckling” as a child.

Eisner built on this, saying, “You didn’t think you were beautiful. I know women who have been told they’re beautiful, they win Miss Arkansas, they don’t ever have to get attention other than with their looks. So they don’t tell a joke. In the history of the motion-picture business, the number of beautiful, really beautiful women — a Lucille Ball — that are funny, is impossible to find.”

Following his comment in Aspen, Eisner was quickly ripped by prominent women in Hollywood such as Megan Ellison and Mindy Kaling.

“It’s too much. I can’t take it,” Ellison wrote on Twitter. “It’s just so painfully cliché. People wonder what’s wrong with Hollywood. Stop wondering.”

Kaling called Eisner’s remark “pitiful.”

This article was originally published at The Hollywood Reporter

More from The Hollywood Reporter:

Contact us at letters@time.com.

Read More From TIME

Related Stories