Anton: Strictly Not Ra****

The BBC has jumped to the defence of Strictly Come Dancing star Anton Du Beke after a News Of The World reporter allegedly called him “ra****”.

The term, which cannot be re-printed here for fear of causing further offence, is often used to describe someone who discriminates against a particular person on the grounds of their race or ethnic background.

The unnamed reporter apparently used the term “in jest” after a mask which Du Beke was wearing appeared to slip during rehearsals, prompting him to make a casual remark to his dance partner Laila Rouass. It is understood that the reporter’s comment caused great upset to the dancer, who walked out of the studio soon afterwards.

Peter Ian, a witness to the bust-up, said: “I was watching from the sidelines and saw the reporter, who had been invited along to do a spread on how successful the show had become over the last five years. He was nearby as Anton and Laila were dancing with one another and, just after Anton muttered something to her, he suddenly went across and said to Anton ‘I think you’re being a bit ra**** there, to be honest’ and the room went deathly quiet. Anton looked shocked and I thought he was going to burst into tears at one point. The reporter was politely asked to leave and Anton retired to his dressing room before returning a few moments later in a far more positive frame of mind.”

A spokesman for the BBC said: “The word ‘ra****’ is extremely offensive and Anton was understandably upset and hurt by the reporter’s outburst. He may be from middle England and have slightly outdated views, but that by no means makes him a ‘ra****’. He’s more of a loveable rogue with a playful sense of humour and is very popular with fans of the show, who I’m sure would miss his cheeky smile and sense of fun were he ever to leave.”

Brave Anton, 43, declared yesterday that he plans to “carry on as normal” and will continue to be part of Strictly Come Dancing “until the public decides otherwise.”

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