Corrie suspends Fountain over raps
A Coronation Street star has been suspended from the soap after he was found to have a "totally unacceptable" rapper alter-ego.
Chris Fountain, who plays Tommy Duckworth, said he is "deeply ashamed" of the lyrics in his raps and has issued an apology.
The raps, by Fountain's rapper persona The Phantom, appeared on YouTube and featured the star delivering expletive-laden performances with themes of violence and rape.
The clips, no longer available to view on the video website, featured 25-year-old Fountain wearing a Halloween mask and rapping lyrics such as "rape a bitch on her birthday", according to The Sun.
In a statement, Fountain, who has starred in Hollyoaks and been a contestant in 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 spokeswoman 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."
Witham MP Priti Patel told The Sun: "This is an appalling revelation that shows a lack of respect, regard and understanding of the crime of rape. This guy is trying to trivialise it. He should know much better."
Fay Maxted, chief executive of the Survivors Trust - an umbrella agency for more than 135 specialist rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse support organisations - told the newspaper: "This is absolutely shocking. He is a high-profile character. It shows a complete lack of any kind of respect for women at all.
"He is a role model for young people. It almost seems like he's making a joke of something that really isn't funny."