Comedian David Walliams has apologised for making “disrespectful comments” about Britain's Got Talent contestants during breaks in filming the ITV talent show.
The talent show judge, 51, was reportedly recorded making derogatory remarks and sexually explicit comments about participants auditioning for the show at the London Palladium in January 2020.
According to a leaked transcript seen by The Guardian, it is suggested Walliams referred to a performer as a 'c***' three times when he was out of earshot, following an unsuccessful audition.
During his audition, the contestant had engaged in light-hearted banter with the judges in which he made a jibe about Walliams, it has been reported.
The transcript also suggests further sexually explicit comments were made after a female contestant had walked off the stage.
In a statement, Walliams said: “I would like to apologise to the people I made disrespectful comments about during breaks in filming for Britain’s Got Talent in 2020.
"These were private conversations and – like most conversations with friends – were never intended to be shared. Nevertheless, I am sorry.”
The Guardian reported that lawyers for Walliams and Thames TV, the production company behind Britain’s Got Talent, argued the comments were part of a private conversation never intended for broadcast.
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In a statement, Thames TV said: “Although relating to a private conversation almost three years ago, the language used was inappropriate.
“Even though it was private, those involved have been spoken to and reminded of their responsibilities and the show’s expectations as to future professional conduct.
”His comments were picked up by microphones used to capture discussions between the judges, which include Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden.
In a statement, ITV said: “We do not condone the language outlined in these allegations, and we have spoken to the producers of Britain’s Got Talent.
"Duty of care towards all participants on any of our programmes is always of paramount importance and we have protocols and guidelines in place for all our production partners.”
The Guardian reported that Walliams’ comments were the only instances of derogatory remarks made about contestants from three episodes that were reviewed.