Strictly’s head judge, Shirley Ballas, has apologised after making an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Woman's Hour and suggesting women should carry Tasers to protect themselves from potential attacks or kidnappings.
The mother-of-one said on the show: “All women in today's society should become more vigilant. It's important that people take care of themselves, maybe carry Tasers, things like that. It was unfortunate for Holly [Willoughby] her situation was really quite dire."
She continued: “My message goes out to all women, not just women in 'profile' it's taking care of yourself, it's educating yourself.
“What can you do if you were in a situation that happened to take hold of you, that you had no idea of what to do."
At the end of the interview, host Krupa Padhy chimed in to clarify Shirley’s Taser comments, saying: “We must say that stun guns or tasers are prohibited weapons and it is an offence to possess them.”
Following the clarification, the Strictly star, which was invited to promote her new book Murder on the Dancefloor, then apologised, revealing she did not know stun guns were illegal in the UK.
“I apologise for my comments. I did not know Tasers were illegal in the UK, and I do not encourage violence in any way shape or form,” she said, before adding: “I wanted to get the message across that women should feel empowered to protect themselves, and incorrectly mentioned the use of Tasers.”
According to the UK’s Parliament website: “The Taser is a prohibited weapon in the UK. It is an offence punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment to possess, purchase, acquire, sell or transfer the weapon without the authority of the Secretary of State. Police officers are exempt from this prohibition.”
During the interview, Shirley also revealed the new steps she is taking to feel more secure.
"I'm just about to enrol in some self-defence classes, I think it's important that people take care of themselves.”
She added: "I shall be getting myself a lot more educated on that for sure."
Shirley’s comments come just days after she opened up about trolls and receiving death threats.
In Olivia Atwood 's upcoming documentary about trolling, she said: "I've had people draw coffins with me in it with somebody with a spade that said, 'Die you [expletive]’. It’s when it is personal about myself and my family and it affects my mental health."
The star went on to confess that she worries about those who send the messages.
"Are they lurking in dark corners? Are they hiding behind walls when you go somewhere?” she wondered.