Keith Lemon has issued a heartfelt apology for impersonating black people in his 2002 TV show Bo' Selecta! The Celebrity Juice star dropped his alter ego and appeared in an Instagram video as himself, Leigh Francis, on Thursday evening. Admitting he has been reflecting on his previous work in wake of the Black Lives Matter protests happening across the world, the 45-year-old apologised for any offense he caused.
"Hi, my name is Leigh Francis and I play a character called Keith Lemon on television. It's been a weird few days and I've sat and thought about things and what I could post to try and help things," he said. "Back in 2002 I did a show called Bo' Selecta! and portrayed many black people. I didn't think anything about it, people didn't say anything – I'm not going to blame it on other people. I've been talking to some people and I didn't realise how offensive it was back then and I just want to apologise. I just want to say sorry for any upset I caused, whether I was Michael Jackson, Craig David, Trisha Goddard – all people that I'm a big fan of. I guess we're all on a learning journey."
He accompanied his video with the caption: "Following recent events, I’ve done a lot of talking and learning and I would like to put this out there. I want to apologise to anyone that was offended by Bo’selecta. I’m on a constant journey of knowledge and just wanted to say I’m deeply sorry. #blacklivesmatter."
Keith Lemon apologised for impersonating black people
Thousands of people across the United States have stood in solidarity with the black community following the senseless killing of George Floyd. The 46-year-old died on 25 May in Minneapolis after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck, even after he pleaded that he couldn't breathe, while three other officers stood by and did nothing.
The #BlackLivesMatter protests are not only in response to George's death but also Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others who have died in recent months due to racism and police brutality. There have also been protests taking place around the world, including London and Berlin, with people banding together to raise awareness and demand justice for the lives lost.
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.