Irish actor Chris O’Dowd has branded X Factor viewers ‘racist’ because he believes that black artists are voted off the show too early.
Speaking to Britain’s Radio Times, the Bridesmaids star said: “Generally my favourites go out in the first few weeks.
“And, of course, because the viewing public is so racist, all the black, strong singers go out in round five every year.”
Some black X Factor contestants have spoken out about racial abuse they have suffered at the hands of online trolls.
Hannah Barrett said: I’ve received a lot of horrible, racist comments on Twitter.
“People say I’m too dark to be a singer. People say, ‘You’re black and ugly’, nasty things like that.
“The sad thing is most of them are made by black people who just have lighter skin than me.”
Boyband Rough Copy also suffer racist abuse on social media. However, this is outweighed by support they receive as their fans turn on the trolls. Joey Thomas said: “Sometimes I’ll respond, thanks so much for your support. I’m happy you noticed us… then the fans eat them alive.”
However, there is no suggestion that abuse from social media trolls actually spills over to influence X Factor phone votes. O’Dowd’s comments may come as a surprise to black singers Alexandra Burke and Leona Lewis, both of whom won the UK version of X Factor, as well as boyband JLS who were runners up to Burke.
All of these artists have gone on to achieve considerable success.
It isn’t the first time the Co Roscommon actor has spoken out against what he perceives as racism. Last year he was furious when the DVD cover for the US release of his movie ‘The Sapphires’ seemed to alter the colour of the black Aboriginal actresses’ skin.