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Storm erupts over TV soap star's rap video glorifying rape
6:00am Saturday 17th August 2013 in News
A foul-mouthed rap glorifying rape and violence performed by Bradford’s Coronation Street star Chris Fountain has seen him condemned by sexual violence support groups and carpeted by his bosses.
The 25-year-old actor has been suspended by ITV after footage of him performing the song wearing a Halloween-style mask as his rapper alter-ego The Phantom surfaced on the internet.
The actor, of Wibsey, who plays Tommy Duckworth in the soap, has apologised and said he is “deeply ashamed” of his rap lyrics.
But campaigners including Rape and Abuse Support and Mothers Against Murder and Aggression, reacted angrily to the rap, saying it showed a lack of respect and understanding of the crime of rape.
The clips featured Mr Fountain rapping lyrics such as “rape a b***h on her birthday”.
The report claims the actor was filmed at meetings held by the West Yorkshire Cypher, allowing performers to do freestyle rapping, and raps about “severing” faces and stabbing someone in the face with a “diseased needle”.
In one video ‘The Phantom’ raps, in a northern accent, that he will use “a needle to perforate your vertebrae” and will “bench press your wife”.
The revelation has also prompted a Twitter outcry, with streams of tweets condemning Mr Fountain’s actions.
One former Corrie fan said the news was “disgusting and heartbreaking”.
Another tweeted: “I hope Coronation Street sack him for glorifying violence and raping women. How could anyone derive entertainment from that?”
Another Street fan wrote: “I for one wouldn’t want to see him on Corrie again.”
The actor, usually a prolific user of Twitter, was remaining silent on the social media network.
But in a statement, Mr Fountain, who found fame in Hollyoaks as a teenager and was a finalist in ITV’s Dancing On Ice, said: “I would like to sincerely apologise for any offence I have caused. I am deeply ashamed by the lyrics and very much regret my behaviour.
“The videos were made over a year ago when I was experimenting with music and I’ve not done anything like it since and nor will I.”
A Coronation Street spokesman said: “ITV find both the language used and the views expressed in this video totally unacceptable.
“Chris Fountain has been suspended pending further inquiries into this matter.”
A spokesman for support service Rape Crisis said: “This is yet another shocking example of the hatred directed towards women by some men.
“To dignify this with the name ‘music’ does music an injustice, but the far greater injustice is that our young people are subjected to lyrics which encourage sexual violence against women.
“If these violent and hate-filled lyrics were directed against other groups in society, they would be counted as incitement to violence and treated as a crime.”
Marylyn Haines Evans, trustee at the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, said: “This is wholly unacceptable.
“Thousands of women live with the threat of violence across the UK, so to see a role model seemingly use such offensive lyrics threatening rape so lightly is really worrying.
“As members of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, the WI has been working to highlight violence against women for years, yet it continues to be a real danger for many.
“Incidents such as this merely demonstrate how much work is still sadly left to do.”
And Sandra Horley, chief executive of national domestic violence charity Refuge, said: “Refuge has been supporting abused women and children for more than four decades.
“In that time many things have changed – but attitudes which condone and belittle violence against women are still deeply entrenched in our society.
“Evidence of these attitudes can be found everywhere – in adverts, music videos, films, song lyrics like these. Sometimes they are endorsed by people in the public eye.
“Language is powerful. The way that you perceive or describe a problem determines what you do about it.
“While violence against women is trivialised and condoned by society, it will never be properly challenged.
“At Refuge we believe that in order to end violence against women, we must change the social attitudes which allow it to continue.”