'Strictly' star Anton issues apology in light of racist coment

Monday October 5, 2009

Strictly Come Dancing's Anton Du Beke has apologised after making an offensive remark to his celebrity contestant partner Laila Rouass.

After seeing the actress – who is of Moroccan descent - emerging from a spray on tan ahead of their first performance together, the 43-year-old dance pro reportedly said: "Oh my god, you look like a Paki."

The 38-year-old brunette was said to be "gobsmacked" by the comment, which was overheard by a number of members of the Strictly team.

In a statement, Anton apologised for his actions saying: "I must say immediately and categorically that I am not a racist and that I do not use racist language."

"During the course of rehearsals Laila and I have exchanged a great deal of banter entirely in jest, and two weeks ago there was an occasion when this term was used between the two of us."

"There was no racist intent whatsoever but I accept that it is a term which causes offence and I regret my use of it…I apologise unreservedly for any offence my actions might have caused."

Laila has said: "It was a situation which happened that we have moved on from and I accept his apology."

The BBC has confirmed no action will be taken against Anton, who has been tipped to replace Bruce Forsyth when he retires as the host of the dance show.

Photo: ę BBC

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