Dancing on Ice’s Ashley Banjo backs Rufus Hound after MP rant sparked Ofcom fury

Dancing on Ice judge Ashley Banjo says he fully backs Rufus Hound's decision to air his political views during Sunday's show despite it causing a stir among viewers.

The 41-year-old comedian launched an attack on the government's handling of the free school meals scheme during the launch show of the 2020 series.

Rufus' comment ruffled a few feathers with some criticising the star for using his stint of the ITV skating show to make a political statement.

However show judge and Diversity creator Ashley, 32, says he fully respects the Celebrity Juice regular for speaking out.

The former Britain's Got Talent champion told Daily Star and other press: "I think its absolutely appropriate.

"He's an intelligent and emotional man who can form an opinion.

"He said something in response to the way he felt so of course he's allowed to say it.

"The idea that people are not allowed to express their opinion because the show is, in brackets, a family show, I think is nonsense."

Television watchdog Ofcom has since revealed that 341 complaints have been made against the ITV programme after Sunday's episode.

The specific number of complaints about Rufus' comments has not yet been revealed.

Ashley is no stranger to dealing with angry fans after Diversity's politically-charged Britain's Got Talent attracted over 25,000 Ofcom complaints last year.

During their performance the group illustrated the death of George Floyd, who lost his life after police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest in Minneapolis on May 25.

The routine left several people outraged over its political message, while a huge amount of people also praised the performance.

Ofcom later announced they will not investigate the complaints any further, while ITV stood with Diversity after they featured adverts in national newspapers in support of the controversial dance.

Rufus was the first contestant to receive the Golden Ticket, giving him and his partner Robin Johnson a free pass into the third week of the competition.

The former Celebrity Juice regular told hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby that it was the "least mad thing" to have happened as he referenced the free meals controversy.

He explained: "I've spent most of this year not emotionally stable because the world does not make sense and this does not make more sense of it.

"We live in a world where the people we elect don't want to feed hungry children, this is the least mad thing that has happened to me in a long time."

Ashley has been offering his expert advice on the Dancing on Ice judging panel alongside Jayne Torvill, Christopher Dean and John Barrowman since 2018.

Reflecting on Sunday's launch show, Ashley said: "We had a surprise vote, some falls, some great skates and great energy in the studio.

"I think everyone is doing really well so that makes me excited but also nervous for next week as I think they've got a lot to live up to in week two.

"I think this series is going to be really strong."

Rap artist Lady Leshurr received the least amount of public votes last weekend and will be in the Skate-Off this Sunday.

Six new couples will take to the ice in a bid to impress the judges and viewers at home.

One couple will get the boot from the competition this weekend.

Dancing on Ice continues Sunday on ITV at 6pm

  • Dancing On Ice
  • Ashley Banjo
  • Rufus Hound

Source: Read Full Article