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Corrie star axed over 'rape' rap
Coronation Street star Chris Fountain has said ITV chiefs had "no choice" but to axe him from the show after online video clips of him delivering foul-mouthed raps - which included lyrics about rape - emerged online.
The 25-year-old was suspended from the show last week after the videos came to light and he met programme bosses on Monday to discuss his actions.ITV said that his contract has now been terminated due to his "unacceptable comments".
Fountain, who played Tommy Duckworth, said in a statement he was "deeply sorry" and "mortified" at the embarrassment he has brought to colleagues and employers.
"I completely understand that ITV had no choice but to terminate my contract today," he said. "I have had two wonderful years playing Tommy Duckworth with only happy memories of my time on Coronation Street. I am mortified that I have brought so much embarrassment to my colleagues and employers these last few days."
His videos, posted on YouTube as his rap persona The Phantom, featured the star discussing violent themes. The clips have been removed from the website but featured Fountain wearing a Halloween mask and delivering lines such as "rape a bitch on her birthday".
An ITV spokesman said: "Chris Fountain's contract with ITV has been terminated as a result of the unacceptable comments he made in a number of online clips."
Fountain said: "My biggest regret however is not to do with losing my job, but that I have hurt and let down so many people including those in a vulnerable situation and I am so very deeply ashamed of this. The lyrics that appeared online were influenced by a style of hiphop that I was experimenting with at a private freestyle session and blurted out in a moment of madness. There is absolutely no excuse - I take complete responsibility for my actions - but they were in no way thought out or represent at all my attitude towards women, rape and violence."
However, Fountain's actions were condemned by charities, women's groups and MPs. Fay Maxted, chief executive of the Survivors Trust - an umbrella agency for more than 135 specialist rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse support organisations - said last week: "He is a role model for young people. It almost seems like he's making a joke of something that really isn't funny." Tory MP Priti Patel said his raps showed "a lack of respect, regard and understanding of the crime of rape". She added: "This guy is trying to trivialise it. He should know much better."
Fountain - who has also starred in Hollyoaks and has been a contestant on Dancing On Ice - last week said the videos were made over a year ago when he was experimenting with music.
He added in his statement: "I just want to apologise from the bottom of my heart to everyone who I have offended or upset. I am also mortified to have put my mother, grandad and girlfriend through the last few days which they are hurt and bewildered by and so do not deserve. I am so sorry. Once again to everyone who I have let down and hurt. I am deeply sorry."