COUNTDOWN’S Anne Robinson has hit back at Vanessa Feltz after being accused of making a ‘racist jibe’ about her black boyfriends.
Earlier this year Radio 2 host Vanessa said she was “horrified” when she appeared on a celebrity version of The Weakest Link and was asked by Anne: “Looking the way you do, how do you think you land all these big black boyfriends?”
Anne Robinson has defended herself against Vanessa Feltz’s racism claimsCredit: Rex Features
The jibe, which was cut from the final broadcast, was a reference to the fact that Vanessa has been in a relationship with singer Ben Ofoedu since 2006.
But in an exclusive chat with The Sun, Anne said: “What I actually said to her was: ‘How can someone like you attract gorgeous black boyfriends?’
“First of all, she’d talked endlessly about doing just that, secondly it’d taken her 16 years to discover she was upset about it, and maybe if I had a radio show to promote I might have done the same.
“I’m not complaining about it, but it wasn’t quite what I said. I think she came twice on The Weakest Link and we certainly heard nothing for 16 years.
Vanessa said she was shocked by Anne bringing up her boyfriends’ race on The Weakest LinkCredit: Rex
“I probably couldn’t say it now, but it wasn’t derogatory except to her.”
Anne also pointed out the mild hypocrisy of viewers being so shocked by some of the remarks she made on The Weakest Link in the first place.
With her catchphrase: “You are the weakest link, goodbye” the show ran on BBC1 up to 2012 and became a TV phenomenon on both sides of the Atlantic. And its success was based on her candid style.
Vanessa with partner Ben OfoeduCredit: Getty
Anne was fearsome on The Weakest LinkCredit: Rex
She said: “For the first time on television, someone was behaving like we all do watching television and being rude. But don’t expect to see it or hear it TV.
“Whose mother has not said: ‘Why is she so fat?’ Who’s father has not said: ‘You think with his money, he would have a better shirt on TV.’ You would want to say them out loud.
“And this is part of this puritanical thing that it’s so shocking when we all do it at home.”
Anne is returning to screens as the new Countdown hostCredit: PA
Anne also claims that, contrary to popular belief, she did reign herself in and think about people’s feelings.
She said: “You always have to choose how far you can go with a particular contestant, and certainly Weakest Link contestants would have been very disappointed if I hadn’t sparred with them.
“I often found on The Weakest Link that young, undergraduate girls you could deflate more than you wanted to, and I’d go back and tell the producer to cut that out because their mother is going to hate me.”