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The series one champ, who was dropped by Simon Cowell after just one album, took to Twitter after ‘X Factor’ co-host Olly made a mistake when announcing who would be leaving the competition during the results show.
He tweeted: "Dr Mrs, 'Sorry you have HIV, actually no, sorry I'm wrong. You haven't. My mistake. Hold on, yes, sorry you have HIV. Sorry." #XFactor"
Dr Murs, "Sorry you have HIV, actually no, sorry I'm wrong. You haven't. My mistake. Hold on, yes, sorry you have HIV. Sorry." #XFactor— Steve Brookstein (@stevebrookstein) November 15, 2015
Followers were disgusted by his attempts at humour, and slammed the singer for his comments.
@stevebrookstein what you have used for your "joke" is real life for many people every day so glad you find it so funny you heartless man— Mark + (@earlymbird) November 15, 2015
@stevebrookstein That's funny Steve. The same way HIV is a rich untapped source of humour.— Ambivalent Janner (@Antijanner) November 15, 2015
@stevebrookstein AIDS jokes? For goodness sake man.— Steve Saul (@stephensaul) November 15, 2015
@stevebrookstein That's a new low even for u. At ur age u should know to think before u tweet :o— D to the B (@dtotheb15) November 15, 2015
After the backlash, Steve attempted to defend himself by saying that ‘X Factor’ viewers did not get the “construct” of his “light-hearted” joke.
"Oh dear the X Factor viewers are upset. Duh! No surprise there then," he wrote.
Oh dear the X Factor viewers are upset. Duh! No surprise there then. pic.twitter.com/3I1wbw4wwe— Steve Brookstein (@stevebrookstein) November 15, 2015
"It was a light hearted joke at Olly's expense," he added. "Not at those with HIV. Anyone who understands construct gets that."
He then added that he should have used ebola as a substitute for HIV in his tweet, before going on to make the same jibe using diabetes and genital warts instead.
It isn’t the first time Steve has courted controversy, as earlier this year he posted an insensitive tweet about 7/7 on the 10th anniversary of the London bombings.
He later hijacked an abortion hashtag on the social media site to talk about “aborting” his pop career.