Is ‘Britains Got Talent’ a hotbed of abuse?
Despite its wholesome content, Britain’s Got Talent has a shocking ability to generate drama. From ‘accidental’ boob-grabbing to fan-fave hosts Ant & Dec testing positive for COVID, the UK’s hit talent competition show is no stranger to stirring up a little controversy.
However, there’s drama and then there’s Drama. Judge David Walliams recently learned the hard way after being exposed for making risque comments. He claims they were never meant to be heard by the public, but isn’t that kind of missing the point? Sounds like someone’s just mad he got caught.
How do you get in trouble for off-the-cuff remarks when Simon Cowell is sitting right there? The former American Idol judge has made a reputation for speaking his mind no matter whose feelings get hurt in the process. Walliams had to really go out of his way to put Britain’s Got Talent on the map for nasty comments.
Out of pocket
In January 2020, The Guardian revealed a leaked transcript exposing Walliams’ tasteless jokes. Aimed at contestants, he referred to an elderly gentleman as a c*nt after the man-made harmless jokes about him on stage. That wasn’t even the worst of it!
Walliams was later heard waxing on about how unattractive another contestant was. He described her as “the slightly boring girl you meet in the pub that thinks you want to f*ck them, but you don’t.” While the other Britain’s Got Talent judges can’t be heard responding, there’s no way they were completely oblivious to the disgusting remarks.
It should be surprising to no one, though. This is the same person who landed in hot water for his children’s book Brian Wong who was never EVER Wrong. His short story caught much-deserved heat for its stereotypical portrayal & depiction of a young Asian boy.
Once the transcripts of the supposedly one-sided conversation were leaked, Walliams immediately faced backlash. Rightfully so as this was only what was heard via Britain’s Got Talent microphones. If Walliams was using such colorful language in public, what was he saying in private?
It makes you question what kind of environment is being cultivated behind the scenes. Was this a one-time event or part of a bigger system of abusive behaviors? If this is how Walliams talks to the judges when he knows people can hear him, how does he talk to contestants when he thinks he’s alone?
It turns out, Walliams isn’t the only person of questionable morality connected to the show. In May 2020, twenty-three-year-old contestant Christopher Gittins was sent to jail for sexually abusing a thirteen-year-old boy. What’s really going on at Britain’s Got Talent when the curtains come down if these types are given free rein?
Not so heartfelt
Naturally, Walliams’ team has already issued an apology. In it, he describes what he said as “private conversations and [that] were never intended to be shared”. Which begs the question: what does that have to do with anything? The problem isn’t who heard this conversation, but rather that it was had at all.
This lets you know that it’s less about Walliams actually feeling bad and more about cleaning up his TV image. He felt entirely too comfortable making these so-called jokes with his fellow Britain’s Got Talent judges. These problematic thoughts seem to have an internal source, judging by his books.
While Walliams may not be sincere, however, the companies that represent him are speaking from the heart. They don’t condone his words, and they have taken him to task for insulting contestants. More importantly, none of his fellow judges are attempting to shield him from the consequences of his actions.
On my own
The judges of Britain’s Got Talent represent a united front. There’s the contestants and then there’s them. As a result, they seem like they get along pretty well. In Walliams’ trying time, one might’ve expected them to stand up for him or to at least speak out on his behalf.
Instead, they’ve all gone quiet. Walliams’ level of comfort in making such heinous comments seems odd. Then again, who among them hasn’t had a rude coworker try to find kinship with words that only caused offense? The type to not even realize when he’s the only one laughing.
In July 2020, author Jack Monroe took to Twitter to challenge Walliams’ books. Monroe, known online as @BootstrapCook, tore them apart as sexist, racist, classist, and otherwise too vile for children to read. With such an atrocious personality on display, it could be only a matter of time before Britain’s Got Talent is collectively called to task.