Craig David slams Leigh Francis as a ‘bully’ over ‘racist’ Bo’ Selecta scenes

Craig David has slammed Leigh Francis as a “bully” over his “racist” caricatures of him on his Channel 4 show Bo’ Selecta.

Leigh, also known as Celebrity Juice host Keith Lemon, carried out impressions of Craig and other celebrities including Mel B, David Beckham and Trisha Goddard on the sketch series, which aired from 2002 to 2009.

The comedian played Avid Merrion, a celebrity-obsessed stalker who would do impressions of stars using rubber facemasks.

Singer Craig’s comments came just weeks after Leigh told Craig to “stop talking about it” as that’s the only way it’s ever going to “go away from him”.

Appearing on Elizabeth Day’s How To Fail podcast, Craig said the show took him back to being bullied in school.

He said: “It felt like the universe, god, whatever you want to call it, was saying let's mirror the same thing that happened to you in school.

“But now in a way of being somebody in the public eye, we're gonna emphasise that to the whole world. I couldn't quite understand why I was feeling the same bullying thing all over again, like I was in school.”

The 41 year old, who was depicted as a Yorkshire musician with a pet falcon called Kez, continued: “I couldn't understand where the point of bullying was so focused in on me. It was just cheap shots all the time.”

Craig added that the use of blackface in the show and the way he, Mel B and Trisha were mocked was “blatant racism”.

He said: “And there were many people being ridiculed. I had a moment on BBC Breakfast speaking about Trisha Goddard and Mel B. It wasn’t just the fact there is three black people on that show and they were being ridiculed, it was racism however you look at that. You put a rubber mask on and you run it like that, you are being racist.”

The 7 Days star also referenced former England footballer David Beckham being mocked for his voice.

He continued: "David Beckham… let’s not forget, there was a time he was being ridiculed about the sound of his voice and he was trying to find his voice and talk, and all my man did was literally just: ‘I’m going to trigger you and go to what I know will get you.'

“These weren’t hypothetical characters, they were real people with lives and feelings, and it was cheap shots, that was the premise of the show.”

Leigh, 49, apologised to Craig, Mel B and Trisha in June 2020 for the caricatures and agreed with Channel 4 to take the show down from their streaming platform All 4.

Last month Leigh told The Sun he thought the pair had moved on from their feud after they made up at mutual pal Fearne Cotton’s wedding in 2014.

“Most people are happy with their portrayal on Bo’ Selecta!. Apart from someone we know who wasn’t,” he said. The only way it’s ever going to go away from him, if he feels people are going on about it, is to stop talking about it.

“It’s ages ago, isn’t it? It is, 20 years ago. I wish he wasn’t upset. I bumped into him at Fearne’s wedding and we hugged it out and everything was all nice.”


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