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Craig David calls Bo Selecta impression 'racist' and 'bullying'

Craig David performing during the filming for the Graham Norton Show at BBC Studioworks 6 Television Centre, Wood Lane, London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening.
Craig David performing during the filming for the Graham Norton Show. (BBC/PA)

Craig David has labelled the Channel 4 sketch show Bo Selecta as 'racist' over Leigh Francis' impressions of him.

Celebrity Juice star Francis used to helm the sketch show where he performed as various celebrities under prosthetic masks.

In a new interview with The Times, the 'Seven Days' singer has opened up about the impact the sketches had on him as a young man.

Read more: Craig David criticises Leigh Francis as 'insincere' over blackface apology

The musician said: "It felt like a vendetta and when it got a following, it became something that affected me. People would shout at me on the street and I felt the same feeling I had when I was bullied at school. Leigh Francis had normalised bullying by making it comedy."

David then said: "When he put blackface on, that was being racist."

LONDON - DECEMBER 15: Comedian Avid Merrion arrives to launch his bid for the Christmas number one spot with Bo Selecta single
Avid Merrion (Leigh Francis) launching the Bo Selecta single "Proper Crimbo, 2003 . (Dave Hogan/Getty Images)

Francis has apologised in the past for his impersonations of David, Mel B and Trisha Goddard. He released a video in 2020 in which he said he was "deeply sorry" for any upset he had caused.

Francis also said: "Back in 2002, I did a show called Bo' Selecta, I portrayed many black people. Back then I didn't think anything about it, people didn't say anything- I'm not going to blame other people. I've been talking to some people. I didn't realise how offensive it was back then.

<p>A man (Leigh Francis) wearing a massive mask and walking around the streets of London… eventually destroying the street cred of celebrities like (Craig David. ITV/Talkback) </p>
Leigh Francis impersonating Craig David. (ITV/Talkback)

"I just want to apologise, I just want to say sorry for any upset I caused whether I was Michael Jackson, Craig David, Trisha Goddard, all people I'm a big fan of. I guess we're all on a learning journey."

David has previously called Francis' apology "insincere" and criticised him for timing it during the Black Lives Matter protests.

David also said that Francis has never reached out personally to apologise for the impression.

Yahoo has contacted Leigh Francis for a response.

Watch below: Craig David says Bo Selecta was 'racist and ruined my life'