Petition calls for X Factor to drop James Arthur performance following homophobic rap

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Following a storm of controversy over a feud rap he recorded which included homophobic slurs, and time off for “acute exhaustion”, James Arthur is now facing calls for ITV’s the X Factor to drop him from a performance this weekend.

X Factor winner Arthur last week left Twitter following criticism for using homophobic language against another artist in a “rap feud”. He handed over control of his Twitter account to managers.

In Arthur’s rap at Micky Worthless, he said: “You f***ing queer. Hilarious, precarious you Talibani confused, imbellic mimic of a gimmick.” He was criticised by comedians Matt Lucas and Frankie Boyle for the lyrics.

Arthur now faces calls from an online petition titled “Drop Homophobe James Arthur from Xfactor”, which has found the support of over 7,500 likes.

The page administrators clarified their position, saying: “Just to remind everyone, WE ARE NOT A HATE PAGE. We are simply campaigning to get someone dropped by X Factor who has a history of hate speech and derogatory language.

“We do not feel James Arthur deserves a place on TV following his homophobia in his music and on social media.”

Some people defended the artist, however, saying that because he issued an apology, he should be allowed to perform.

One user said: “All this over some word he has said and which he has apologised for i think some people just need to grow up!”

Despite growing support for the campaign, ITV has confirmed that Arthur will still perform.

ITV released a statement which said: “Both ITV and the producers of The X Factor would like to make it clear that in no way do we support, condone or share any form of homophobia or discrimination.

“Following his comments James has since apologised last week, making it clear that he did not mean to cause any offence and explaining the context behind his remarks.”

Some users also took to Twitter to use the hashtag #dropjamesarthur to express their views.

James Arthur also found himself amid a new Twitter drama, as fellow X Factor contestant Lucy Spraggan last week tweeted a text conversation between the two containing a heated disagreement over his use of the word “queer”.

Controversy surrounding James Arthur’s Twitter spats around his use of homophobic lyrics on a track already escalated as iTunes last week approved a refund to a customer who complained that they were offended by the lyrics.

Singer Olly Murs also defended James Arthur, saying he gave him the “benefit of the doubt”, because he is a “talented lad”, and has apologised.