comedian BILL MAHER has lashed out at critics who have slammed him for dressing up as Crocodile Hunter STEVE IRWIN for Halloween.

Irwin died in September (06) when a stingray barb pierced his chest while he was filming a documentary in Australia. Pictures of Maher were widely circulated on the Internet and sparked outrage, with critics labeling the outfit inappropriate and insensitive.

Maher hits back saying, "Stop hassling me about my Halloween costume. Yes, you've seen it on the Internet. "I went as the Crocodile Hunter with a bloody stinger in my chest. People who really love animals understand if you get killed by one, chances are you were doing something to it you shouldn't have been."

"You want me to apologise for making a joke? Who do you think I am, (former US Presidential Candidate) JOHN KERRY?"

Copyright 2006 WENN

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