David Walliams: Former ITV show judge sues Britain’s Got Talent bosses over removal after leaked rant
David Walliams is suing his former employers at Britain’s Got Talent over a leaked derogatory rant he made about a contestant.
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David Walliams is taking legal action against his former employers at Britain's Got Talent following his removal as a judge, it has been reported. The 52-year-old entertainer is pursuing a substantial damages claim after being removed from the ITV show last November, according to The Sun.
His departure came in the wake of a leaked transcript that revealed comments he had made about contestants during a break in filming. In this transcript, he repeatedly used derogatory language, referring to one elderly contestant using offensive terms and making inappropriate comments about another contestant.
These comments were inadvertently captured by his microphone during auditions at the London Palladium in January 2020. After the comments became public at the end of last year, Walliams issued an apology, asserting that they were part of private conversations never intended for public consumption. However, he resigned from the show two weeks later.
The Little Britain star was then replaced by former Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli, who joined the judging panel alongside Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon.
Walliams has now initiated legal proceedings against BGT production company Fremantle, citing a data protection breach resulting from the leaked transcript, which effectively ended his decade-long stint as a judge on the show.
For his legal representation, Walliams has enlisted the services of the law firm Brandsmiths, known for their expertise in handling cases involving data protection breaches.
In a statement issued before he quit, Walliams said: "I would like to apologise to the people I made disrespectful comments about during breaks in filming for Britain's Got Talent in 2020.
These were private conversations and - like most conversations with friends - were never intended to be shared. Nevertheless, I am sorry."
ITV said it did not "condone" the language used and had spoken to producers of BGT.