The Oscar-winning Room star was seen smiling as she stroked the marine mammal's stomach in a 2004 snap she posted on Instagram last week (02Sep16).

"I touched a Dolphins (sic) belly while sporting a trucker hat in 2004. #noregrets," she wrote in the accompanying caption.

Brie quickly realised her mistake and added, "edit: I do not support animal cruelty."

After posting the photo, she came under fire from followers who were outraged she would support places which keep animals away from their native habitats, with one user writing, "those animals are being enslaved for your entertainment," with another stating, "dolphin shows are torture. I hope you never support this again, Brie."

Another even referenced her breakout role in Room, in which she plays a young mum held captive in a small space, writing, "don't support dolphins in captivity please, it's just like #Roomthemovie but for dolphins. You better than that guuuuuurl (sic)."

A day later, the actress returned to the photo sharing app to apologise for upsetting her fans.

"I posted a photo previously that encapsulated a silly moment in my weird life," she wrote. "I forgot that through social media and random interviews you do not know all the facets of me and what my concerns are. We should be concerned about the well being of all animals. Yes, Dolphins. Along with every other creature.

"There are problems with animals in captivity. There are problems with animals living in the wild. It has always been a priority of mine to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. I apologize if the photo appeared to endorse animal cruelty. I don't believe any living thing deserves miss treatment (sic)."

Brie noted that she wants to make the best out of the situation by encouraging her followers to help educate her on the issue, adding, "In the comments section feel free to discuss your thoughts, concerns, articles ANYTHING that can turn this into a moment of education for myself and all who are interested. We gotta remember that we will make mistakes but we can learn from them, together. Much love."