Ashley Banjo Defends Rufus Hound Over Comedian's Government Jibe On Dancing On Ice

Ash Percival
·Entertainment Editor, HuffPost UK
·3 min read

Ashley Banjo has defended Rufus Hound from criticism after the Dancing On Ice contestant sparked Ofcom complaints with his on-air comments about the government.

On Sunday’s launch episode of the ITV skating show, the comedian took aim at Boris Johnson and his government over their handling of free school meals.

The TV watchdog has since confirmed it has received over 300 complaints about the episode, with the majority of these about Rufus’ comments.

Rufus Hound on the ice during Sunday night's live show (Photo: Matt Frost/ITV/Shutterstock)
Rufus Hound on the ice during Sunday night's live show (Photo: Matt Frost/ITV/Shutterstock)

Ashley, who sits on the Dancing On Ice panel, said it was “absolutely appropriate” that Rufus was able to say what he wanted.

He said (via the PA news agency): “I have said this before. He is a comedian. He is an intelligent, emotional man who takes cues from the real world around him to formulate an opinion. That’s what we all do.

“And he said something in response, which was the way he felt. Of course he is allowed to say it. That is his prerogative.

“If people agree, don’t agree... the idea that people aren’t allowed to express their opinion because the show is an in brackets a ‘family show’ I think is nonsense.

“I think what people are saying is, ‘It’s a family show and they only want opinions on the telly that they agree with’. That is a different thing.”

Ashley Banjo is one of the judges on Dancing On Ice (Photo: Matt Frost/ITV/Shutterstock)
Ashley Banjo is one of the judges on Dancing On Ice (Photo: Matt Frost/ITV/Shutterstock)

In the first live show of the series, the comedian found out that he’d received a “golden ticket” from the judges, securing him a spot in the next round of the competition without him having to face the public vote.

Reacting to the award, Rufus told presenter Phillip Schofield: “Mate, we live in a world where people we elect don’t want to feed hungry children. This is the least mad thing that has happened to me in a long time.”

After the show aired, Rufus tweeted: “To the people who want to be cross with me - you were never going to be my friend. I wish it were different, but such is the world we now live in.

“To everyone else, thanks for all your lovely messages. I will try to keep doing funny ice dances for you.”

When journalist Danny Wallace responded with a supportive message, Rufus then responded: “It seems mental that the fact this government whipped its members to vote against feeding hungry children is necessarily party political.

“But, 2021 man. What a ride.”

Ofcom are currently assessing the complaints they have received before deciding whether to launch a formal investigation, as is standard procedure.

Dancing On Ice continues on Sunday at 6pm on ITV.

READ MORE:

Rufus Hound Blasts UK Government During First Dancing On Ice Live Show

Dancing On Ice: Ofcom Receives Hundreds Of Complaints After Rufus Hound's Comments About UK Government

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.