X Factor star Marcus Collins takes part in anti-hate crime campaign video

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Former X Factor singer Marcus Collins has joined forces with Merseyside Police to raise awareness among young people about hate crime.

The 25-year-old star was subjected to racial and homophobic abuse in a physical assault by three men as he walked his dog through a park last October.

He reported it to Merseyside Police and the force’s anti-hate crime unit, known as Sigma, investigated the attack.

Ben Shields, aged 22, from Litherland, Merseyside, was arrested and charged with racially aggravated common assault and sentenced to four months at South Sefton Magistrates Court and given a five-year restraining order.

On Friday, a video featuring Collins and Merseyside Police’s Chief Constable Jon Murphy will be shown for the first time to pupils at Sacred Heart School in Crosby, where Marcus once studied.

In the video, Collins, who came second in 2011’s X Factor, says: “I have been a victim of hate crime. I was discriminated against because of the colour of my skin and my sexuality. This should not be happening. It’s 2013. We’re here to make a positive change and raise awareness that this is no longer acceptable. We are all equal.”