David Walliams is expected to step down as a judge on Britain’s Got Talent after a Guardian report revealed he had made disrespectful comments about contestants on the show.
A spokesman for Britain’s Got Talent said the judging panel for next year is not yet final and no decision has been made as to whether Walliams will be involved. However, a report in the Sun stated that he would leave the program after 10 years.
“The judging panel for Britain’s Got Talent 2023 will be announced in due course,” said the show’s spokesperson. “It is currently very much up in the air whether David will participate in next year’s show. However, no decision has been made yet.”
The comedian was also booked to appear on Jonathan Ross’ ITV chat show on Saturday night, but will no longer be doing so. Sources suggested it was Walliams’ decision not to participate in the program. He has kept an unusually low profile in recent weeks, avoiding red carpet events that would draw media attention.
He apologized earlier this month after the Guardian published derogatory comments and sexually explicit remarks about contestants auditioning for the ITV show at the London Palladium in January 2020.
According to a leaked transcript seen by the Guardian, Walliams referred to an older performer as a “cunt” three times when he was out of earshot after a botched audition. During the audition, the contestant had lightheartedly chatted with the judges in which he made a joke about Walliams.
The transcript also included further sexually explicit comments made after a female contestant left the stage.
Walliams said in a statement: “I want to apologize to the people I made disrespectful comments about during film breaks for Britain’s Got Talent in 2020. These were private conversations and – like most conversations with friends – were never meant to be shared. Still, I’m sorry.”
The Guardian reported that lawyers for Walliams and Thames TV, the production company behind Britain’s Got Talent, said the comments were part of a private conversation that was never meant to be broadcast.
Thames TV said: “Although it related to a private conversation nearly three years ago, the language used was inappropriate. While private, those involved have been spoken to and reminded of their responsibilities and the show’s expectations regarding future professional conduct.
Walliams’ comments were picked up by microphones used to record discussions between the judges.
ITV said in a statement: “We do not condone the language outlined in these allegations and we have spoken to the producers of Britain’s Got Talent. A duty of care towards all participants in all our programs is always paramount and we have established protocols and guidelines for all our manufacturing partners.”
The Guardian reported that Walliams’s comments were the only instances of derogatory remarks about contestants from three episodes to be reviewed.
Walliams serves on the show’s judging panel along with Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon.
Earlier this week, Holden told reporters she “would like the jury to look like before” and that she was on “Team David”, potentially causing headaches for the highly rated ITV show.
Walliams rose to fame alongside fellow comedian Matt Lucas, producing popular mid-2000s shows such as Little Britain, which has since been re-evaluated for its use of class stereotypes and blackface. He is also a best-selling children’s author, although one of his short stories was removed from publication last year over allegations that it perpetuates racist stereotypes.