Leigh Francis apologises for playing black people on Bo’ Selecta: “I’ve done a lot of learning”

The Celebrity Juice comedian portrayed several black celebrities in the Channel 4 comedy.

Leigh Francis

Leigh Francis, the comedian who plays Celebrity Juice host Keith Lemon, has apologised for his “offensive” portrayal of black celebrities on show Bo’ Selecta.

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With the aid of latex face masks, Francis played caricatures of the likes of Michael Jackson, Craig David and talk show host Trisha Goddard on the Channel 4 comedy series.

Amid global Black Lives Matter demonstrations, Francis said he “done a lot of talking and learning” and wanted to apologise.

“It’s been a weird few days, I’ve sat and thought about things and what I could post to try and help things,” he said in an Instagram video.

“Back in 2002 I did a show called Bo’ Selecta, I portrayed many black people. Back then I didn’t think anything about it, people didn’t say anything – I’m not going to blame other people.

“Been talking to some people – I didn’t realise how offensive it was back then.

“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 I’m a big fan of. I guess we’re all on a learning journey.”

The 47-year-old comic – who took part in social media’s Blackout Tuesday to highlight racial inequalities – used the hashtag #blacklivesmatter in the video’s caption.

“Following recent events, I’ve done a lot of talking and learning and I would like to put this out there,” the caption reads.

“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.”

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Bo Selecta aired on Channel 4 between 2002 and 2006 followed by a two-part Michael Jackson special in 2009.