7:00 AM PT -- 11/24 -- Shapeero has changed his tune and decided to issue a wholehearted apology to Lukas Gage for what he said on the Zoom call ... but also explain how it wasn't as bad as it seemed.
The director says ... "First and foremost I offer Mr. Gage a sincere and unvarnished apology for my offensive words, my unprofessional behavior during the audition and for not giving him the focus and attention he deserved. My job is to evaluate performers against the part I am trying to cast. Lukas deserved better."
Shapeero goes on to explain the Zoom audition was back in August after months of lockdown, and it was emotional for him to see how hard actors were working in the tough conditions to land roles.
He explains when he was referring to actors like Lukas when he said "These poor people," but he meant "in the sense of deserving sympathy, as opposed to any economic judgment."
The director says he truly appreciates what actors have been going through, and he's still mortified about what happened. However, he vows to "move forward from this incident a more empathetic man; a more focused director and I promise, an even better partner to actors from the audition process to the final cut."
The director who seemingly got busted for trash-talking actor Lukas Gage's apartment on a Zoom call says he's not going to apologize for it ... because important context is missing.
Tristram Shapeero -- a British TV director best known for directing episodes of "Community," "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" and "Veep" -- is the guy on the other end of Gage's instantly infamous online audition.
Shapeero -- who apparently thought he was muted -- is heard saying, "These poor people live in these tiny apartments," referring to where Lukas was staying ... and goes on to criticize his TV before he realizes Lukas can hear him.
The director is now suggesting he wasn't talking smack and won't say sorry ... but does claim a statement will be coming out on the matter. Funny thing is, Shapeero said sorry multiple times to Lukas on the call when he was busted, and even added that he was mortified.
The actor -- known for roles on "American Vandal" and "Euphoria" -- posted the clip saying ... "psa: if youre a sh*t talking director make sure to mute ur mic on zoom mtgings."
The incident led to an outpouring of support in Hollywood for Gage, but the director seems to think it was all overblown.