Controversial former Friday Night Project host Justin Lee Collins will not appear in the next series of Celebrity Big Brother.
Rumours started circulating earlier this month that Collins, who was convicted in October of harassing his ex-girlfriend Anna Larke, had accepted a £100,000 offer to appear on the Channel 5 reality series when it returns to TV in the New Year.
“There has been much speculation about whether Justin Lee Collins will be entering the Celebrity Big Brother house,” said a spokesperson for Justin Lee Collins in a statement. “He was approached by the programme and although he was thrilled to have been asked, he declined the offer several weeks ago.”
Last week Anna Larke’s brother Alex launched a petition to have Collins barred from appearing on CBB, saying it would “trivialise domestic abuse” if he was featured on the show.
However, despite the petition having reached 2,000 signatures by Monday, Collins’ spokesman said that “this decision is in no way connected to Alex Larke’s petition.”
Following his October conviction, Collins was sentenced to carry out 140 hours of unpaid community service for his “campaign of abuse” against Anna Larke.
He has since reportedly told friends that the case has “made life difficult” and expressed a desire to return to television so that people can see “the real JLC”.
Instantly recognisable thanks to his long hair, full beard and strong Bristol accent, the former stand-up comedian found fame alongside Alan Carr in 2006 as co-host of the Channel 4 entertainment show The Friday Night Project .
The next series of Celebrity Big Brother will begin airing on Channel 5 on Thursday 3 January 2013.