Simon Cowell brands Chris O'Dowd ignorant for attacking 'racist' X Factor voters
The judge hit back at the actor's 'ridiculous' claims
"We are the least racist show you could possibly find in the world," the 54-year-old judge told EntertainmentWise at the Britain's Got Talent press launch.
"So not only is [O'Dowd] ignorant, it's actually insulting to hear him say that and it’s insulting to our audience.”
Simon Woolley, director of Operation Black Vote which promotes racial justice in public life, supported O'Dowd's comments.
"I wouldn't describe voters as racist but there's something more subtle going on which makes it harder for contestants with a 'darker' physical complexion to win public support," he said. "Generally the 'blacker' the artist is, the harder it is for the public to warm to them."
But producers of The X Factor have rejected claims of racism, arguing 40 per cent of the 2013 finalists were black or mixed race.
A spokesperson said: "The X Factor has a long-standing record of celebrating a diverse range of artists, including two former winners, Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke, and numerous others who have reached the final stages of the competition, including this year's semi-finalists Rough Copy."
Last year's contestant Hannah Barrett described being subjected to "horrible racist comments" during her time on the show, telling Reveal magazine that most of the insults come from "black people who just have lighter skin than me."
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant