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Strictly Come Dancing bosses in crisis talks as complaints over Anton Du Beke's racist remark quadruple



By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 9:27 AM on 07th October 2009




The BBC are holding crisis talks to discuss the future of shamed Strictly Come Dancing professional Anton Du Beke after complaints to the BBC over his 'Paki' remark quadrupled today.

Du Beke's future on the show is said to be in the balance after the 43 year-old called his dance partner a 'Paki' during an exchange witnessed by 15 other people on the show.

Today complaints to the BBC rose to 261 and pressure is now mounting on the corporation to axe the dancer for his racist comments to Footballer's Wives star Laila Rouass, 38, with one BBC source claiming Du Beke is a 'dead man dancing'.

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article-1218014-069BB7DA000005DC-849_468x687.jpg Save the last dance: The BBC is under pressure to axe Anton Du Beke after his racist remark to partner Laila Rouass prompted 281 complaints



The source told The Daily Star: 'I'd say he is a dead man dancing for the rest of the series. It might well prove to be his last.'


The rise in complaints comes as anti-fascist group Hope Not Hate called on the corporation to take action over the dancer's comments.

A spokesperson said: 'Quite simply the programme has to ask itself, is it going to condone racism on its show or is it going to deal with it quickly and decisively?'

article-1218014-06B7FD03000005DC-589_233x587.jpg Laila seen leaving The Pride Of Britain Awards in London last night


The group compared the situation to that of Carol Thatcher, daughter of the former Prime Minister, who was sacked this year from the BBC’s The One Show after referring to a tennis player as a golliwog.

A Hope Not Hate spokesman said: 'The BBC took a clear line on the Carol Thatcher comment. If anything this is even more offensive. If calling someone a Paki is not racist then what is?'

Following the public outcry, sources told The Guardian discussions are being held within the BBC by executives about the public reaction to Du Beke's comments.



Laila who publicly has forgiven Anton is privately said to be 'horrified' at Du Beke's racist remark, and a source said that she 'couldn't stop crying'.


She was also further devastated when she learned the offensive comment was to be made public.

It was revealed today that Laila, a friend of X Factor mogul Simon Cowell almost pulled out of the television judge's lavish 50th birthday celebrations.






A source told The Mirror: 'Laila was distraught at first, but Simon was brilliant.


'And when she got to the party last Saturday he and Sinitta looked after her. Everyone was very kind to her.'

Laila, whose mother is Indian and father Moroccan is said to have been left distraught after the 43-year-old dancer said: 'Oh my God, you look like a Paki!'.

Du Beke made the offensive remark after seeing the celebrity contestant emerge after a spray tan in preparation for her first appearance on the BBC1 show.

The actress, of Footballers' Wives and Primeval fame, is understood to have walked out, collected her things from the dressing room and gone home.

The popular dance professional who has been tipped to take over from veteran host Bruce Forsyth, 81, quickly released an apologetic statement: 'I must say immediately and categorically that I am not a racist and that I do not use racist language.

'There was no racist intent whatsoever but I accept that it is a term which causes offence and I regret my use of it, which was done without thought or consideration of how others would react.'

However, two weeks ago it was revealed that when first introduced to his series partner, Du Beke had joked, 'You're not a terrorist, are you?' on learning of Miss Rouass's background.



article-1218014-06B01C8C000005DC-912_468x264.jpg Hanging on: Laila and Anton enjoy a joke backstage on last week's show. She has accepted his apology but privately is said to be devastated



Miss Rouass, 38, has said: 'It was a situation which happened that we have moved on from and I accept his apology. 'I'm really enjoying the show and dancing with Anton and hope we can go as far as possible in the competition.'

His inappropriate remark is understood to have been overheard by 15 other people, including fellow professional dancer Brendan Cole.




Enlarge article-1218014-06B11BF3000005DC-940_233x264.jpg Anton and Laila during rehearsals for Strictly Come Dancing last month




But some viewers accused the BBC of 'brushing the incident under the carpet', and inconsistency following the high-profile sacking of Carol Thatcher.

The daughter of former prime minister Baroness Thatcher was fired from her 'roving reporter' role on The One Show earlier this year after she described a black tennis player as a 'golliwog'.


A BBC spokesman said the two situations were different because 'Carol never apologised and Anton has apologised so we are not being inconsistent'.


A friend of Miss Thatcher, however, said she had apologised for her off-air remark but that the BBC had deemed it 'not the right sort of apology'. 'As usual it seems to be one rule for one and one for another at the Beeb,' said the friend.







Du Beke has recently been made host of prime-time Saturday night show Hole In The Wall, and has appeared on all seven series of Strictly.


A BBC spokesman said: 'The BBC does not condone offensive language in the workplace.'

It is understood the BBC is not intending to take any action against Du Beke and wants to 'draw a line' under the incident.


However, not all licence feepayers are happy with this.

'I'm not comfortable with Anton's continued presence in the show, especially when Carol Thatcher was sacked for making a similarly controversial remark,' commented one fan in a Strictly online chatroom.

The BBC is risking more controversy this weekend with a plan to have Amy Winehouse performer on Strictly.

The troubled star is scheduled to provide backing vocals for her 13-year-old goddaughter Dionne Bromfield, who will sing Mama Said, the first single from her new album, Introducing.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1218014/Strictly-Come-Dancings-Anton-Du-Beke-dead-man-dancing-BBC-insider-says-series-last.html#ixzz0TFAwtkTa

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Strictly Come Dancing's Bruce Forsyth: 'It's no worse than calling us limeys,' as he defends Anton Du Beke's 'Paki' slur



By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 3:58 PM on 08th October 2009




Bruce Forsyth has come under pressure to apologise after saying the nation should get a 'sense of humour' about the Strictly Come Dancing race row.

BBC bosses are said to be furious with the host after he seemingly trivialised Anton Du Beke's racial slur against dancer parter Laila Rouass, whom he said she looked like a 'Paki' after a spray-tan.

The veteran TV host, 81, called for people to accept Du Beke's apology and move on.

Forsyth said that in days gone by the 'slip-up' would have been treated in a more light-hearted way.

Scroll down to see video report:



article-1218955-06991F78000005DC-217_468x302.jpg Slip up: Bruce Forsyth defended 'sensitive' Anton Du Beke over his racial slur to dance partner Laila Rouass and called for the nation to get a sense of humour



article-1218955-06C04C8D000005DC-19_233x436.jpg A worried-looking Anton pictured in West London today



Forsyth told radio station TalkSport: 'We used to have a sense of humour about this. You go back 25, 30, 40 years and there has always been a bit of humour about the whole thing.

'At one time the Americans used to call us 'Limeys' which doesn't sound very nice, but we used to laugh about it. Everybody has a nickname. And Anton is such a sweet guy, it's such a terrible shame.'






But a senior BBC source told the London Evening Standard: 'What said is in no way the BBC's position and as the presenter of the programme, he has the opportunity to clarify this before Saturday's show.'

The source added: 'A lot of my colleagues think Du Beke should have gone - and now Bruce has come out and dropped a hand grenande into the whole row. Most people believe the world 'Paki' is highly offensive.'

Former BBC star Kulvinder Ghir, who was part of the BBC hit comedy troupe Goodness Gracious Me, said: 'Claiming the word ‘Paki’ is harmless is just ignorance. It’s as bad as calling somebody a n*****.'



article-1218955-06B875A7000005DC-340_468x689.jpg Moving on: Laila yesterday said she had accepted Anton's apology and was keen to move on with her partner and do well in the competition



Anti-racism campaigners have also attacked Forsyth and the BBC’s handling

of the row.


Ruhul Tarafder, of Tower Hamlets-based group Bangla 2000, said: '[‘Paki’] usually accompanied violence and hatred. It is as bad as the N-word.'


article-1218955-0692DE57000005DC-19_233x423.jpg Calls to apologise: Bruce with Strictly co-host Tess Daly


The BBC has resisted pressure to sack Du Beke from the hit series following the off-air comment he made to Rouass during rehearsals.

He has since apologised 'unreservedly' for his behaviour towards his dancing partner, who has Indian ancestry.

Rouass has accepted Du Beke's apology for the comment and said he did not deserve to be sacked.

Speaking to Adrian Durham and Darren Gough on Bowtime, Forsyth was asked if Du Beke's apology and Rousass's acceptance of it should be the end of the matter.


'Of course it should,' said Forsyth yesterday.

Praising Du Beke, Forsyth said: 'He's a lovely, sensitive guy.

'OK, he can be a bit mouthy and can say quick things off-the-cuff like I do. If someone says something to me then I'm straight back.


'Quick reflex of the tongue is what we've got. But when you're like that you can slip up every now and again.

'You can say something that you don't mean.

'But I'm sure there was nothing vindictive about what he said and it (Du Beke's apology) should be accepted and the page should be closed on it.

'It's a damn shame and I feel for him and Laila, she's a lovely girl.'


article-1218955-06BFC5E0000005DC-869_468x164.jpg What it means: A dictionary definition of the term 'Limey'


article-1218955-06C03738000005DC-63_468x101.jpg Epithet: How the word is defined in the Oxford English dictionary



The BBC has faced claims of double standards over the incident, which arose when former Footballer's Wives star Rouass turned up to rehearsals after having a spray tan.

Carol Thatcher was axed from her role on BBC1's The One Show after she used an offensive term during a chat in the programme's green room.

The corporation drew a distinction between the two incidents, saying that Du Beke offered an unreserved apology, whereas Thatcher apologised but continued to maintain her comment was a joke.


  • The term 'Limey' is an old American and Canadian slang nickname for the British, originally referring to British sailors. It is believed to derive from lime juice, referring to the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy practice of supplying lime juice to British sailors to prevent scurvy.

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