X Factor winner James Arthur has said he is ‘extremely disappointed’ in himself for a rap he recorded in retaliation against another artist, which included homophobic slurs, but said ‘in rap feuds… words I used have a different intent’.

Arthur, who won X Factor UK last year, was responding to rapper Micky Worthless in the recording, who originally mocked him for choosing to go on the show. The original rap by Worthless also included homophobic slurs.

In Arthur’s rap, which included a remix of Toni Basil’s hit ‘Mickey’, included the line: “You f***ing queer. Hilarious, precarious you Talibani confused, imbellic mimic of a gimmick.”

He went on: “I’m a genuine talent, not a brand.”

The diss of Worthless proved controversial, propting a backlash from followers on Twitter, and comedian Matt Lucas, who tweeted the star.

Lucas said: “F*** you @JamesArthur23 for using the phrase ‘f***ing queer’ in your latest track. F*** you.”

Arthur apologised in a series of tweets this afternoon to his 2 million followers.

He said: “I just have to say I’m extremely disappointed in myself for being so naive with the diss track I made for an unknown rapper recently… Some of the things said in this rap can be mistaken for homophobic slurs and I assure you homophobia is something I do not believe in I have many many gay friends”.

“In rap feuds/rap disses the words I used have a different intent. This is a straight man I was attacking A straight man who littered his track with severe homophobic slurs towards me… Like I said though it was a rap diss… And in no way a reflection of my true character..”

“Any offence I have caused by using the term ‘queer’ in my rap battle with MC Worthless… would just like to make it completely clear that it was not meant in anyway as a reference to homosexuality…

“I realise where the term has come from in meaning.. but used in the context of the rap battles I have grown up with it has come to mean something completely different.. That said, I understand why it could cause offence and that definitely wasn’t my intention.”

Arthur also went on to address Matt Lucas directly, saying: “I’ve heard I’ve offended Matt Lucas who’s work I have always admired and that is a blow. Deeply deeply sorry to any gay or lesbian people out there. Plus Rylan is one of my best mates and he is as gay as they come! #LOVE”.

Lucas responded to say: “Thanks, James. I look forward to your new stuff. Respect to you for responding and taking it down. Let’s move on.”