Coronation Street star Chris Fountain says he "completely understands" ITV's decision to terminate his contract and realises the broadcaster "had no choice" in the matter after videos emerged online of him rapping about violence and rape.
The 25-year-old, who has played Tommy Duckworth in the ITV soap for two years, said he was "mortified" for the problems his actions had caused and said there was "absolutely no excuse" for his behaviour.
“I completely understand that ITV had no choice but to terminate my contract today," the actor said in a statement.
"I have had two wonderful years playing Tommy Duckworth with only happy memories of my time on Coronation Street.
"I am mortified that I have brought so much embarrassment to my colleagues and employers these last few days. My biggest regret however is not to do with losing my job, but that I have hurt and let down so many people including those in a vulnerable situation and I am so very deeply ashamed of this.
"I am also mortified to have put my mother, grandad and girlfriend through the last few days which they are hurt and bewildered by and so do not deserve. I am so sorry. The lyrics that appeared online were influenced by a style of hip-hop that I was experimenting with at a private freestyle session and blurted out in a moment of madness."
Fountain was fired from Coronation Street yesterday following the emergence of online videos in which is seen threatening rape and violence while performing as his rap alter ego the Phantom.
An ITV spokesperson said that the actor’s contract had been terminated "as a result of the unacceptable comments he made in a number of online clips".
Added Fountain: "There is absolutely no excuse - I take complete responsibility for my actions - but they were in no way thought out or represent at all my attitude towards women, rape and violence. I just want to apologise from the bottom of my heart to everyone who I have offended or upset."
RadioTimes.com understands that scenes featuring Fountain that are due to air over the coming weeks will not be edited out.