Page last updated at 12:07 GMT, Monday, 5 October 2009 13:07 UK

BBC stands by race row Du Beke

Laila Rouass and Anton Du Beke
Rouass wants to continue dancing with Du Beke

The BBC is standing by Strictly Come Dancing star Anton Du Beke who has apologised for using a racist term.

There have been calls for Du Beke to be sacked after it was claimed he called his partner Laila Rouass a "Paki".

A statement says: "The BBC does not condone offensive language in the workplace. Anton Du Beke has apologised unreservedly to Laila Rouass who has accepted his apology."

The ballroom dancer denied being racist after an exchange "in jest".

There have been 63 complaints about Du Beke to the BBC and anti-racism campaign group Hope Not Hate has called for the dancer to be axed.

A spokesman for Hope Not Hate said: "If calling someone a Paki is not racist behaviour then what is? The BBC took a clear line on the Carol Thatcher golliwog comment. If anything this comment is even more offensive."

Carol Thatcher was sacked from the BBC's The One Show earlier this year after referring to a tennis player as a "golliwog".

The BBC has pointed out that Thatcher refused to apologise for her comments.

The News of the World said Du Beke used the slur two weeks ago after the Footballers' Wives actress had a spray tan before filming.

Carol Thatcher
Carol Thatcher was sacked from The One Show for using a racist term

Unreserved apology

Du Beke, who also presents Saturday evening game show Hole in the Wall, said: "I must say immediately and categorically that I am not a racist and that I do not use racist language.

"During the course of rehearsals Laila and I have exchanged a great deal of banter entirely in jest, and two weeks ago there was an occasion when this term was used between the two of us.

"There was no racist intent whatsoever but I accept that it is a term which causes offence and I regret my use of it, which was done without thought or consideration of how others would react.

"I apologise unreservedly for any offence my actions might have caused."

Rouass, whose parents are Moroccan, has accepted her dance partner's apology.

She said: "It was a situation which happened that we have moved on from and I accept his apology.

"I'm really enjoying the show and dancing with Anton and hope we can go as far as possible in the competition."

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