Coronation Street cast members have reportedly reacted angrily to the sacking of Chris Fountain over his explicit YouTube rap videos.
The actor, who plays Tommy Duckworth in the soap, was given his marching orders earlier this week after his alter ego The Phantom – whose raps include lyrics about rape and extreme violence – was exposed.
However a number of his co-stars and associates are far from pleased with the decision – and have taken to Twitter to make their feelings known.
Among the most vocal was Ryan Thomas’s brother Scott, who said: “The guy has a heart of gold and has lost his job over a joke with mates! Disgusting.”
An insider added: “A lot of people think he has been hard done by and have made that point to producers.”
Others have accused producers of double standards given that they have stood by other cast members in times of trouble, including William Roache and Michael Le Vell.
However show bosses have justified their decision by pointing out that neither of those two actors – both of whom face trial over sex offences – has yet been found guilty of any crime.
Chris was initially suspended from the show after he was unmasked as The Phantom, but was later dismissed from the show following talks with producers.
He later said he was ‘mortified’ by the outcry, and added: “My biggest regret 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 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.”
Corrie is set to bid farewell to a number of big names in upcoming months, including Michelle Keegan and Michelle Collins – who announced her departure on Friday.
The clips have since been removed from YouTube.