back-doorX factor judge Simon Cowell has said sorry after he seemingly joked about a TV presenter’s sexuality and caused upset among many viewers. Simon was appearing on the X Factor spin-off show Xtra Factor when the comment was made by the 57 year-old music mogul, which is co-hosted by openly gay singer and previous contestant Rylan Clark-Neal.

The comment came in a segment of the show where Rylan and his co-presenter Matt Edmondson were presenting a segment that involved judges picking from a selection of doors to reveal a question. Rylan had commented that he was keen on a nice front door and Simon, in clear reference to his sexuality, added that he thought Rylan would prefer the back door. Fellow judges showed their disgust at his joke and many of the audience members booed him. Simon instantly apologised, but Rylan was keen to ensure Simon was made to feel equally uncomfortable, and so he  sat on the desk directly opposite Simon and offered to show him is back door.

Social media was split on the issue. Pride UK tweeted that everybody needed to get over the gay joke and have a sense of humour while other users said it is this kind of casual homophobia which needs to be stopped. Rylan said after the broadcast, which went out live, that he was not offended by Simon’s remarks but was glad he apologised straight away.

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Natalie has been an LGBT journalist for 12 years and joined the Fyne team in 2001. Her interests outside of work are cycling, running and badminton. She is also studying for a degree in psychology.

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