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The owners of a New York delicatessen where actor Forest Whitaker was accused of shoplifting last week have apologized to the star for the actions of a "misguided" employee.

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The Oscar winner was publicly searched and manhandled at the Milano Market in Manhattan after a store worker suspected Whitaker of stealing an item.

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A representative for the deli tells TMZ, "The management of Milano Market deeply regrets the wrongful actions of our employee in stopping and frisking Forest Whitaker."

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But the rep insists reports suggesting the employee's actions were racially motivated are wrong, adding, "While we can not delve into the employee's mindset, we do not believe that he was racially motivated in his actions, simply misguided."

The store owners are hoping to appease Whitaker by offering a donation to the charity of his choice.