X-Factor hopeful, Rylan Clark, has spoken out following “banter” from Gary Barlow, saying the judge overstepped the mark with comments he made at a charity event, and that what he said could have fuelled homophobic Twitter abuse.
The 24-year-old, openly gay contestant said in an interview with the Sun that he was upset because, at a Mencap charity gig on Tuesday, Gary Barlow had asked the crowd to chant “get him out”, and said that he thought he was “absolute shit.”
He said that he believed the insults were part of the construct of the show, and did not reflect Mr Barlow’s true opinions, but that it shouldn’t go beyond a certain point:
“We’ve got this banter in the studio and in the studio that’s where it stays.
“So when I found out what he did at the gig it upset me because I thought, ‘You’ve taken this out of the show now’. ”
Mr Clark, whose mentor is Nicole Scherzinger, said earlier this week that he had to temporarily quit Twitter because of homophobic abuse he had been receiving. In the interview he suggested that the “banter” could have been fuelling the abuse he had received on the social media site:
“I’m not saying the word ‘bully’, not in the slightest bit. I just look at it and think it’s not nice to get a crowd to do something like that … ever.
“It’s a bit hateful. I’m all up for the panto but these people in the crowd are hardcore Gary fans. If he turns round and says something, that’s in their head and they’re the ones who come on Twitter to give me abuse. I get a lot of ‘I Love Gary Barlow’ people tweeting me and that’s expected, but I don’t think that helped this week.”
The essex-born model-turned-singer, said that if necessary, he would reveal the judge’s true feelings. He said: “Without going into too much detail, if he does it again and carries on I’ll just have to tell everyone how it really is. I’ll lay it on the line.
“I mean I was just in the studio and he saw me and waved and smiled. He loves me. He can’t keep his eyes off me.”