British musician Sir Rod Stewart has apologized after a controversial video (below) showed him reenacting what viewers interpreted to be a mock execution in the style of ISIS.
The controversial clip, which appeared on social media, shows Stewart and a group of friends in the desert. The 72-year-old rocker is seen making a cutting gesture across the neck of a friend who is kneeling in the sand, BBC reports.
Stewart's wife, Penny Lancaster, was the one to post the clip, which was filmed outside of Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, on Instagram. The video was later deleted after social media users pointed out the gesture's similarity to executions carried out by terror group ISIS.
In the video, the group runs around on sand dunes in the desert, before a man kneels down in front of Stewart, who makes a throat-cutting gesture across the man's neck. The clip has reportedly been taken down and edited to remove the scene with the execution, according to The Sun.
Stewart has apologized for the video, saying that he was only "larking" before his concert performance in Abu Dhabi. Stewart said the group was reenacting a scene from HBO fantasy series "Game of Thrones," according to the Independent.
Fans on social media reportedly called the singer's actions "clueless" and "deeply stupid."
"From re-enacting the Beatles' 'Abbey Road' crossing to spontaneously playing out 'Game Of Thrones,' we were simply larking about pre-show," Stewart stated. "Understandably, this has been misinterpreted and I send my deepest apologies to those who have been offended."
John McCarthy, a journalist who was held hostage for five years in Lebanon in the 1980s, said the relatives of militant groups' victims would be "absolutely sickened" to see Stewart making light of their relatives' deaths.
McCarthy added that the singer had made "a grotesque thing into a kind of pantomime."
"Your blood runs cold just imagining what it must be like to be in that situation in the last moments of your life or, indeed, as relatives to see that," McCarthy said of the executions.
David Haines, a 44-year-old British aid worker, was the first British citizen to be beheaded by ISIS, which released a video of Haines' death. Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwait-born Briton who appeared in the execution video and became known as "Jihadi John," also appeared in a series of videos released online by the militant group, depicting the beheadings of Western hostages.
Haines was abducted by militants in March 2013 while he was in Syria helping civil war victims. The video of Haines' execution was released by ISIS in September 2014. Alan Henning, another aid worker from the U.K., was also beheaded by the militant group in 2013.