Chris O'Dowd has branded the viewing public 'racist', as he explained why he thinks black contestants on the 'The X Factor' leave the competition early.

In an interview with the Radio Times magazine, the 'Bridesmaid' star reportedly 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."

chris odowd

Chris O'Dowd

Despite this, the Irish actor claims he is a "big X Factor fan".

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His comments come as part of an ongoing debate about online abuse black contestants on the show receive.

Most recently, 2013 finalist Hannah Barrett said she had been "disappointed" by the racist abuse she received while she was part of Simon Cowell's singing contest.

She told Reveal magazine: "People say I'm too dark to be a singer and there have been lots of references to how dark my skin is".

hannah barrett

Hannah Barrett

However, an 'X Factor' source told the Daily Mail: "The X Factor has a long standing record of celebrating a diverse range of artists including two former winners, Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke, and numerous others who have reached the final stages of the competition including this year’s semi-finalists Rough Copy, along with JLS, Marcus Collins and Jahmene Douglas in previous series."

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  • Series One, 2004

    <strong>Won by:</strong> Steve Brookstein <strong>Mentor:</strong> Simon Cowell <strong>Runner up:</strong> G4

  • Series Two, 2005

    <strong>Won by:</strong> Shayne Ward <strong>Mentor:</strong> Louis Walsh <strong>Runner up:</strong> Andy Abraham

  • Series Three, 2006

    <strong>Won by:</strong> Leona Lewis <strong>Mentor:</strong> Simon Cowell <strong>Runner up:</strong> Ray Quinn

  • Series Four, 2007

    <strong>Won by:</strong> Leon Jackson <strong>Mentor:</strong> Dannii Minogue <strong>Runner up:</strong> Rhydian Roberts

  • Series Five, 2008

    <strong>Won by:</strong> Alexandra Burke <strong>Mentor:</strong> Cheryl Cole <strong>Runner up:</strong> JLS

  • Series Six, 2009

    <strong>Won by:</strong> Joe McElderry <strong>Mentor:</strong> Cheryl Cole <strong>Runner up:</strong> Olly Murs

  • Series Seven, 2010

    <strong>Won by:</strong> Matt Cardle <strong>Mentor:</strong> Dannii Minogue <strong>Runner up:</strong> Rebecca Ferguson

  • Series Eight, 2011

    <strong>Won by:</strong> Little Mix <strong>Mentor:</strong> Tulisa <strong>Runner up:</strong> Marcus Collins

  • Series Nine, 2012

    <strong>Won by:</strong> James Arthur <strong>Mentor:</strong> Nicole Scherzinger <strong>Runner up:</strong> Jahmene Douglas

  • Series 10, 2013

    <strong>Won by:</strong> Sam Bailey <strong>Mentor:</strong> Sharon Osbourne <strong>Runner up:</strong> Nicholas McDonald

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