Boy George's high-profile involvement with ITV's I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! has been criticised by the man who was shackled to a wall by the singer.
Audun Carlsen has stated that the experience left him traumatised, and George should not be on I'm A Celeb, let alone be its highest-paid star.
“I still see the monster that he is every time I see him,” said Carlsen. “It’s hurtful that ITV gave him that platform.” George is reported to be the highest-paid contestant among this year’s cast, with an expected pay packet of between £500,000 and £800,000.
But what exactly happened in the incident which led to Boy George’s imprisonment, and who exactly is Audun Carlsen? Here is everything you need to know.
George was convicted of assault and false imprisonment in 2009 after he handcuffed Norwegian model and male escort Audun Carlsen to a wall and beat him with a metal chain. Carlsen told the jury he was only able to get free after breaking the fixture.
In an interview with The Mirror Carlsen described what happened: “He said he wanted to get milk. I heard him talking, I thought it was a neighbour. Then he asked me to come to the bedroom and there he was with another man.
“They jumped on me, kicked, dragged me along the floor. He handcuffed me to the wall and told the man to go, saying he’d deal with me from now on. The guy was there for 20 minutes. I was hooked to the wall for about half an hour. I was s*** scared.”
According to MailOnline, Carlsen, who was 28 at the time, was beaten and threatened with a sex toy before fleeing the apartment in his underwear and calling police from a nearby newsagents at 6.30am.
He added: “Had I been a woman and he did what he did, he would never have been given the platform. It’s hurtful that big organisations like ITV give him that platform.”
George denied the charge and claimed that Carlsen had hacked his laptop and stolen pictures - the singer admitted to handcuffing Carlsen to the wall while he tried to find his property. George admitted to being high on cocaine and experiencing a psychotic episode at the time of the attack. He sought treatment following the incident, and has remained drug-free since.
How did the pair meet?
George was sentenced to 15 months in jail but was released with an ankle monitor after four months due to good behaviour. While on release he requested permission to be a guest on the final series of Celebrity Big Brother.
Reported by The Guardian, the request was refused by his judge, who said at the time: “An offender serving the non-custodial part of a sentence of imprisonment should not be allowed to take part in a high profile, controversial television production, promoting his status as a celebrity and with considerable financial gain.”
According to The Mirror, Carlsen and George first met in January 2007 after the ‘Karma Chameleon’ singer contacted him through a dating site and asked if he could book him for a modelling job for his clothing line.
They drank wine and took cocaine in George’s Shoreditch flat. However, things soured when Carlsen claimed George made unwanted sexual approaches. Carlsen left, but the two remained in contact and decided to meet again three months later.
Who is Audun Carlsen?
Hailing from Kristiansand in southern Norway - he moved to London in 2004 - Carlsen was a model and male escort at the time of the infamous incident. He now works in hospitality.
Carlsen has been in therapy for a decade and suffers from PTSD. He told The Mirror: “Every time I see him, I feel it all over again. I have a permanent back injury. Two or three times a year I get a slipped disc. I’ve not used dating sites since."
In 2017, George issued a public apology. But Carlsen did not think it genuine and wishes to get a personal apology: “I can always forgive, but it has to come from a truthful place.”