SIMON Cowell has hit back at comments Irish actor Chris O'Dowd made suggesting the X factor was racist.
The 'Bridesmaids' star said that although he is a fan of the show, "viewers are so racist, all the black, strong singers go out in round five every year".
However X Factor boss Cowell, who last week announced he would be returning to the UK show's judging panel, slammed the comments.
"We are the least racist show you could possibly find in the world. So not only is he ignorant, it's actually insulting to hear him say that. And it's insulting to our audience", he told Entertainmentwise
However O'Dowd was backed by Simon Woolley, the director of Operation Black Vote which is an organisation promoting racial justice, saying: "I wouldn't describe voters as racist, but there's something more subtle going on which makes it harder for contestants with a 'darker' physical complexion to win public support.
"Generally the 'blacker' the artist is, the harder it is for the public to warm to them."