Green Book director Peter Farrelly has apologised and called himself an “idiot” after a story emerged in which stars told how he liked to flash his genitals as a joke.

New York Magazine’s The Cut published excerpts of a story which ran in Newsweek in 1998, which said Farrelly and his brother and frequent film-making partner Bobby Farrelly would “prank” colleagues.

The Farrelly brothers are best known for comedies including Dumb and Dumber, Shallow Hal, Kingpin and There’s Something About Mary.

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Cameron Diaz starred in the Farrelly brothers’ There’s Something About Mary

Those who spoke to Newsweek about being tricked included film executive Tom Rothman and actress Cameron Diaz, who was starring in There’s Something About Mary at the time.

Both treated the incidents as a prank, The Cut article notes.

Peter Farrelly has had something of a reinvention with last year’s Green Book, a comedy-drama about racism set in the Deep South in the 1960s, which he directed on his own.

Director Peter Farrelly and the Green Book cast on stage at the Golden Globes 2019
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Farrelly won a Golden Globe with Green Book

The film stars Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen as a black concert pianist and his Italian-American driver who become unlikely friends, and won a Golden Globe at the weekend for best musical or comedy film, as well as the awards for best supporting actor for Ali and best screenplay.

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Following The Cut’s article, Farrelly issued a statement through his publicists saying the stories were true.

“I was an idiot,” he said. “I did this decades ago and I thought I was being funny and the truth is I’m embarrassed and it makes me cringe now. I’m deeply sorry.”