BGT comedian's fury at David Walliams payout | Clare Harrison McCartney believes she was the target of ex-judge's misognistic comments © ITV/Fremantle

BGT comedian's fury at David Walliams payout

Clare Harrison McCartney believes she was the target of ex-judge's misognistic comments

A comedian who claims she was the subject of crude comments David Walliams made on Britain’s Got Talent has slammed the settlement awarded to the show’s former judge.

The Little Britain star turned children’s author this week received an undisclosed fee from producers Fremantle – which some have estimated to be around £1million – after his off-air comments were leaked to The Guardian.

Following the settlement, Fremantle apologised for the ‘great distress’ the release of his comments caused to Walliams.

However Clare Harrison McCartney, who appeared on the ITV talent show in 2020, wants to know why those he so crudely dismissed have received no apology nor compensation.

‘This is the cesspit of TV,’ she said. ‘Say something derogatory about a contestant trying to better their comedy career, get caught saying it [then] sue the company for exposing you saying it. That’s the world we live in now. They don’t care about the contestants’ mental health. Disgusting.’

Walliams had sued Fremantle for an unlawful data protection breach and had reportedly been seeking up to £10million. In settling, the company  accepted that their security procedures had failed, allowing the tapes to be leaked.

Mccartney, from Harlow in Essex, believes she was the contestant Walliams was talking about when he said: ‘She's like the slightly boring girl you meet in the pub that thinks you want to fuck them, but you don’t… It's the last thing on your mind, but she's like, "Yep, I bet you do!" No I don't! I had a bit of a boner, but now it's going, it's now shrivelled up inside my body.’

Fremantle have previously denied Mccartney was the woman in question.

But she told Chortle she saw Walliams ‘mumbling stuff’ as she was leaving the London Palladium stage after her audition – and that she received a call from an anonymous man the day before the story broke last year telling her that she was going to be in the papers because of the comments.

Walliams – who was also caught on tape calling a older contestant  a ‘cunt’ – said he had suffered 'suicidal thoughts’ after being forced to leave the show last November.

In court papers his psychiatrist said the incident had a ‘profound’ effect on his mental health and was plagued by the ‘constant concern that any unguarded comments could be used against him, he has lost the ability to be spontaneous or edgy – in short, to be funny’.

Mccartney told Chortle: ‘I’m just angry he pleaded mental health, which is ironic, since I have bipolar and am neurodivergent and he made those derogatory misogynistic comments about me when BGT knew that I have mental health issues.

And on social media she added: ’That must be really hard living on £17million. Try living on f-all in a tiny council flat. I really hope karma exists because this bloke has got a court settlement over slagging me off. 

‘I think he should pay out to me and the [other] person he defamed and insulted. He picked on me because I’m a woman and BGT knew I was vulnerable; they think vulnerable women won’t fight back.’

Calling Walliams’s comments ‘disgusting and misogynistic’ she added: ‘I could deal with being buzzed off but the rest has destroyed me.’

She also hit back at the initial comments, telling this website: ‘I don’t walk into a pub thinking men want a go on me like Walliams said. I walk into a pub thinking "how am I going to get out of here if there is a sexual predator in here?"’

And she said she still regrets going on the show, explaining: ‘My comedy has suffered because it has been judged by that BGT  performance. You can’t get rid of it on YouTube, it’s like herpes. I’ve done stand-up over ten years and people still think my stand-up is going to be like BGT.’

When his comments were leaked, Walliams did issue a public apology, 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.’

When asked if any apology had been made directly to the targets of Walliams’s insults, a Fremantle spokesperson declined to comment, saying it would be a breach of privacy to discuss individual conversations.

After the settlement was reached, the company said: ‘We are pleased that we have achieved an amicable resolution of this dispute with David. We are sincerely sorry that his private conversations when a judge on Britain’s Got Talent were published, and the great distress this caused David. 

'We have reviewed our production practices on the show to ensure they fully respect the expectations of our talent whilst satisfying the requirements of the show. We have enjoyed a great relationship with David over many years. 

'We thank David for being an important part of the Britain’s Got Talent family and the enduring success of the show and hope to have opportunities to work with him in the future.' 

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Published: 29 Nov 2023

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