Leigh Francis, the comedian who plays Celebrity Juice host Keith Lemon, has apologised for his “offensive” portrayal of black celebrities on show Bo’ Selecta.
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.”
Bo Selecta aired on Channel 4 between 2002 and 2006 followed by a two-part Michael Jackson special in 2009.