During an appearance on French TV show "Le Grand Journal" on Wednesday, Mel was asked he if came armed with any "French curse words for French journalists."
"No," the 54-year-old actor said, appearing in good spirits. "It usually comes out in English if I'm angry. I have a short fuse. I'm trying to work on it."
As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, Richards asked Mel, "Do you think that the public will perceive you any differently after all that's been in the news about you?"
"What are you referring to specifically?" the actor, who was interviewed via video from a separate studio, responded with a laugh.
"Referring to the drinking problems, referring to the, what's been called, the anti-Semitic rant," the Chicago reporter continued.
"That was almost four years ago, dude. I've moved on, I guess you haven't," Mel fired back, adding that he felt the public had forgiven him for the incident. "I certainly hope so. It is awhile back. I've done all the necessary mea culpas, so let's move on, dude, come on."
After a sign-off from Richards, Mel – perhaps thinking the cameras were off – then said, "a**hole."
The star later tried to play down the profanity on Wednesday, sending a text to KTLA's Sam Rubin that claimed his publicist had been making faces at him off-camera.
"Edge of Darkness," currently in theaters, is Mel's first film in front of the cameras since the arrest. He spent the last several years in the director's chair – and largely out of the public eye. During the 2006 arrest, he made inflammatory remarks about Jews and women, stating, "f***ing Jews" and calling a female officer "sugar t**s." He later made several apologies for his behavior.
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