Brucie backtrack: Anton Du Beke was 'wrong'

Friday October 9, 2009

TV host Bruce Forsyth was forced to backtrack on Thursday  - after telling the nation to get a "sense of humour" in the Strictly race row.

The 81-year-old attempted to defend his colleague Anton Du Beke over a racial joke made to his dance partner Laila Rouass during rehearsals.

Speaking in a radio interview, the presenter said:  "You go back 25, 30, 40 years and there has always been a bit of humour about the whole thing. Everybody has a nickname".

His comments attracted criticism from listeners, and within hours the BBC issued a statement of clarification.

"What Anton said to Laila was wrong and he has apologised unreservedly for this. Nor do I in any way excuse or condone the use of such language."

"To be absolutely clear, the use of racially offensive language is never either funny or acceptable.

"However there is a major difference between this and racist comments which are malicious in intent".

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