X Factor finalist Sam Callahan has spoken out in an interview to condemn bullying and to say that he think James Arthur made a mistake with homophobic lyrics.

The straight finalist from this year’s X Factor gave the interview in the January issue of Gay Times (GT).

Talking about being bullied at school he said he was at one point held down by an older kid and kicked in the face with a football boot.

He said: “I was, like, this tiny little blond-haired, blue-eyed kid – probably a little bit too cocky for my own good – but only because that was the only way I knew how to stand up for myself.”

When asked what advice he would give to those being bullied, he said:: “You’ve just got to keep fighting and stick up for yourself, because if you don’t, you become a target… but the main thing isn’t to the people who are suffering but more to the people who don’t look up and realise it, those people’s friends.

“People commit suicide, they start cutting or taking drugs and you’re like, well this is changing that persons life. Just because they are who they are. And I don’t believe anyone should be discriminated against because of who they are.”

Callahan said he befriended a girl online who was contemplating suicide, but that he was concerned about the countless others who may be having similar thoughts.

Also speaking on last year’s X Factor winner James Arthur, who was recently embroiled in a controversy for using homophobic lyrics in a rap diss about another artist, he said that he thought he was not a bad person, but that he did make a mistake.

Callahan said: “You’ve got to think about what you say before you say it. And I don’t think he did, basically. I met him and he seemed like a nice guy, but yea, he’s obviously done some stupid stuff.”

He talked about being in a boy band before the X Factor which was managed by Geri Halliwel, and that there was one gay band member: “I’d known him for two years and because we’d slept in a bed together and stuff like that, he was really worried about telling me and I was like ‘cool man, that’s fine!’, He was really worried about it bless him.

The January issue of GT is on sale now for its digital edition and on 24 December in print.