Thousands of people have signed an online petition to ban singer James Arthur from performing on The X Factor results show this Sunday.
Facebook petition “Drop Homophobe James Arthur from X Factor” demands “the removal of James Arthur from The X Factor on World AIDS Day” and has attracted over 11,000 likes.
Some fans have defended Arthur, saying that he should be allowed to perform as he issued an apology after the scandal.
The singer wrote on Twitter he was “deeply sorry” for his use of the word “queer”, assuring fans that “homophobia is something I do not believe in”.
A statement released by ITV read: “Both ITV and the producers of The X Factor would like to make it clear that in no way do we support, condone or share any form of homophobia or discrimination.
“Following his comments, James has since apologised last week, making it clear that he did not mean to cause any offence and explaining the context behind his remarks.”
But fans continued to brand him a homophobe, voicing their anger on Twitter under the hashtag #dropjamesarthur.
Arthur faced a public backlash after rapping the words “you f**king queer” in a song targeted at an unknown musician, Mickey Worthless.
The “Impossible” singer was criticised by fans and celebrities, including comedians Matt Lucas and Frankie Boyle and his fellow 2012 contestant Lucy Spraggan.
Lesbian singer Spraggan challenged the star’s explicit use of the word before tweeting a series of abusive texts he had sent her.
“Lucy what are you playing at having digs at me?,” one message read. “Is it coz you’re a gay rights activist you had to say something as extreme as ‘people kill themselves every day over words like queer’, are you for real?”
Arthur then continued his alleged tirade, boasting that his album had “sold 10 times” more copies than Spraggan’s and calling her a “two faced fickle attention seeker” who needs to “disappear”.
Spraggan had the final word, warning her former X Factor rival not to “f**k with the gays”.
“James used very offensive and derogatory language on more than one occasion and, when confronted by former friend Lucy Spraggan, showed no sign of remorse, but instead mocked her support of the LGBT community”, a post on the Facebook page read.
Arthur quit Twitter after the feud and iTunes granted refunds on his debut album. A statement from his management explained that the singer would be taking time off for “acute exhaustion”.
He is, however, scheduled to perform his forthcoming single “Recovery” on Sunday’s show.