Simon Cowell Breaks Silence On David Walliams' 'Completely Unacceptable' Comments That Led To Britain's Got Talent Exit

The TV mogul said comments made by his former colleague about past contestants on the ITV talent show were "upsetting".
Simon Cowell and David Walliams in 2020
Simon Cowell and David Walliams in 2020
Jeff Spicer via Getty Images

Simon Cowell has spoken out about the events that led to David Walliams’ departure from the Britain’s Got Talent judging panel.

Over the weekend, BGT returned for its 16th series, which saw Simon reuniting with long-serving judges Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon.

However, the trio were joined by a new face as Bruno Tonioli stepped in to replace the former Little Britain comedian, who it was confirmed back in January would not be returning to the panel.

David’s exit came after recordings of him making explicit and disparaging remarks about auditionees on the set of BGT in 2020 were leaked in the press, for which he later issued an apology.

In a transcript shared with The Guardian, the comedian and children’s author allegedly branded one elderly hopeful a “c***” three times after they made a jibe about him during an unsuccessful audition.

Speaking about another contestant, David reportedly remarked: “She’s like the slightly boring girl you meet in the pub that thinks you want to fuck them, but you don’t.”

David and his former BGT colleagues pictured on set in 2020
David and his former BGT colleagues pictured on set in 2020

Asked about what led to David’s departure, Simon told The Sun that he “didn’t really get involved in the decision”.

“From what I understand, he decided to take a step back,” the TV mogul insisted. “It all happened relatively quickly. I was on holiday and then the next thing is I’m having conversations about who’s going to take his place.

“We did say to the two producers: ‘You have to make the final decision’ because, yeah, I am an exec producer, but they’re more hands on.”

Simon added: “Obviously everyone had some input — the network, the producers, [production company] Fremantle, all of us said at the time, these comments are completely unacceptable.

“I had not heard them before and, yeah, it was upsetting. But from where I’m sitting, this wasn’t something I believe was ­constant.”

The new-look BGT judging panel pictured together during this year's auditions
The new-look BGT judging panel pictured together during this year's auditions
Dominic Lipinski via Getty Images

When his past comments were made public, David issued a statement, saying: “I would like to apologise to the people I made disrespectful comments about during breaks in filming for Britain’s Got Talent in 2020.

“These were private conversations and – like most conversations with friends – were never intended to be shared. Nevertheless, I am sorry.”

Since it was announced that David had left BGT, Alesha said she was “deeply saddened” that her “great friend” would not be returning, while hosts Ant and Dec admitted to HuffPost UK that they were “apprehensive” going into the new series without their former colleague.


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