Simon Cowell speaks out on David Walliams' BGT exit over 'unacceptable comments'
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Simon Cowell has spoken out about the circumstances which saw David Walliams exit his role as a judge on Britain's Got Talent.
It was announced late last year that the actor and comedian would be stepping down after a decade on the show, with the show saying at the time that his return was 'up in the air'.
Walliams apologised after leaked audio recordings of him making derogatory comments about Britain's Got Talent contestants were made public.
The judge reportedly called one BGT contestant who failed to make it through to the next round of the competition a 'c**t' multiple times
Another recording picked up by the judge's microphones appeared to hear Walliams saying another contestant was 'like the slightly boring girl you meet in the pub that thinks you want to f**k them, but you don't'.
Lawyers for Walliams and Thames TV said the comments had been part of a private conversation and not intended for broadcast, and he issued an apology to the people he had spoken about while the production company said his language had been 'inappropriate'.
Speaking to The Sun, Cowell said that Walliams had largely been 'very respectful and emotional' about the talent show contestants, and while it was 'upsetting' to hear what had been said he was sure it wasn't a constant occurrence.
"I didn’t really get involved in the decision. From what I understand, he decided to take a step back." He said.
"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.
"Obviously everyone had some input - the network, the producers 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."
Walliams has been replaced by Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli, who has already managed to break one of the big rules the judges are supposed to follow on the show.
Tonioli hit the show's golden buzzer, which automatically puts an act through to the next round regardless of whether they can sway a majority of the judges, while dance group Ghetto Kids were still performing.
The buzzer showers the stage with golden confetti and lets the act know they're making it through, so generally it's considered the done thing to wait until they're finished before pressing it.
Fortunately for Toniolo, Cowell said he found the whole thing pretty funny as he thought 'you definitely haven't watched the show' and everyone came away from it really happy anyway, so no harm was done.
There are some Britain's Got Talent fans who say they've been missing Walliams, particularly his jokes at Cowell's expense, and have been hoping that he would come back to the show in some way.