The new X Factor, starring a gay couple who are best friends, has been accused of sexism, racism and homophobia after the controversial episode featured a woman impersonating a gay man.
The controversial episode, in which an American man impersonates a gay woman, was broadcast live on Channel 4 on Saturday night.
It was broadcast in a commercial break, but the controversy has prompted many to call for the producers of the programme to apologise.
The programme, which had been scheduled to air in February, was pulled on Sunday afternoon after a petition with more than 200,000 signatures was launched.
It has been criticised by a number of organisations including the Human Rights Campaign and the British Council.
The petition said the programme had shown a “dismal, sexist” portrayal of gay people and urged the producers to “come clean about their appalling treatment of gay men”.
The petition also called on the programme’s producers to apologise and called for the BBC to “take immediate action to ensure the programme is not rerun”.
The programme was set to air on the same day as the Olympic opening ceremony, which has been marked with a parade of thousands of people wearing the colours of the rainbow flag.
The X Factor producers have not commented.
The episode has been described as “offensive and offensive to many people” by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
A spokesperson for the organisation said: “This is an appalling episode of television which we believe could have been so much better received and it’s a shame the show is now going into its sixth season.”
The producers should be immediately apologising to gay men for the way they have presented the episode.
“The programme featured a gay character who claimed he was the son of a gay businessman who died of cancer.
He was also a former contestant on the show.
A representative of the production company said the show was not “a platform for hatred” and said it was “not an advert for homosexuality”.”
It is important to point out that we do not believe this character is a representative of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people,” the spokesperson said.”
We want to make it clear that we are not an advert in the sense that we want people to think they can buy a product and that they are buying a product for themselves.