Competition Show Series Judge Apologizes for ‘Disrespectful’ Remarks Caught on Camera
Britain’s Got Talent judge David Williams apologized for the “disrespectful” comments he made that were caught on camera. The comments never aired, but they were included in a leaked transcript The Guardian obtained. Williams, a popular television personality and children’s book author, made the comments during an audition show taping at the London Palladium in January 2020.
“I would like to apologize to the people I made disrespectful comments about during breaks in filming for Britain’s Got Talent in 2020,” Williams said in a statement to The Guardian. “These were private conversations and – like most conversations with friends – were never intended to be shared. Nevertheless, I am sorry.”
The first offensive incident involved an older contestant. When the performer walked on stage, he joked with the judges and included one joke specifically targeted at Williams. The performer’s audition was unsuccessful. As he walked off stage, Williams calls the man a “c—” three times, according to the transcript.
In another incident, Williams was caught making comments about a female contestant. After the woman walked offstage, Williams made sexually suggestive remarks about her. “She’s like the slightly boring girl you meet in the pub that thinks you want to f— them, but you don’t,” Williams said. “She thinks you want to f— her, but you don’t.”
“I know, she’s just like: ‘Oh, f— off!’ I was saying, she thinks you want to f- her, but you don’t,” Williams continued. “It’s the last thing on your mind, but she’s like: ‘Yep, I bet you do!’ ‘No I don’t!’ I had a bit of a boner, but now it’s going, it’s now shriveled up inside my body.”
The comments were caught on microphones used to pick up conversations between the judges when they are sitting at their desks between auditions. The recordings could have been used for montages featuring some of the lighter comments. The other BGT judges, including Simon Cowell, did not make offensive comments about contestants in the transcripts The Guardian obtained. Williams’ comments never aired.
Thames, one of the production companies behind BGT, called Williams’ language “inappropriate.” The studio said Williams was reminded of the show’s “expectations as to future professional conduct.”
“We were unaware of the alleged conversation until contacted by The Guardian, and whilst it is not suggested Simon heard the alleged remarks, we can confirm he did not,” Cowell’s SyCo Entertainment said in its own statement. “Britain’s Got Talent is a family show and we do not condone the use of any such language.” ITV, which airs BGT in the U.K., told The Guardian it does “not condone” Williams’ language and said executives spoke to BGT producers.
The Guardian also obtained a 2012 cast listing from BGT used by staff to recruit possible contestants. Some of them were labeled “buzz off” or “BO,” which meant the contestants were selected because they would be humorous failed auditions for the show. Two former production staffers told the outlet the system was being used as late as 2016. Thames said it was possible that a staffer may have labeled a contestant “BO,” but denied expecting these contestants to be quickly eliminated. Thames denied that any outcome was predetermined and that all contestants are considered by the judges. The Guardian found no evidence that the judges were aware of the “BO” labels used.