Broadcaster Judy Finnigan has been forced to issue an apology over her comments about the Ched Evans rape case as the ex-Sheffield United striker prepares to leave prison.
She caused outrage during a debate on ITV’s Loose Women, when she suggested the convicted rapist should be allowed to play again because the victim was ‘drunk’ and the rape was ‘unpleasant’ but ‘not violent’.
But after hundreds of online complaints and a backlash on social media the veteran broadcaster was forced to ‘apologise unreservedly’ for the offence she had caused.
On Monday’s show, the 66-year-old broadcaster said: “He’s served his time. The rape – and I am not, please, by any means minimising any kind of rape – but the rape was not violent. He didn’t cause any bodily harm to the person.
“It was unpleasant, in a hotel room, I believe, and she was – she had far too much to drink. And you know, that is reprehensible, but he has been convicted and he has served his time. Now when he comes out, what are we supposed to do? Just actually refuse to let him do his job even though he has already been punished?”
Afterwards, Ms Finnigan said: “I was in no way attempting to minimise the terrible ordeal that any woman suffers.”
Today, Evans’ girlfriend Natasha Massey spoke about her support for him during an appearance on ITV’s This Morning.
She said the incident had been Ched ‘cheating’ on her, not rape.
“Obviously the cheating, that was private and we dealt with that at the time,” she said.
“And then through the court, honestly, hand on heart, never thought he would get a guilty. And then the day Ched got a guilty, there was no way I was going to leave him because, like I say, I knew the facts way before the jury, way before the public.
“I know that Ched is innocent. And of course, I love him and I’ll continue to stand by him.”