So once again we must try and remember who James Arthur is, as his first strategy to defend his homophobic behaviour - by saying it's okay to call someone a fucking queer providing they're straight and you do it in an inept rap - is replaced by what to an untrained eye would look like a last-ditch media strategy pulled together by his management.
He's gone to the Sun to say sorry:
James admits he feels the diss rap was a mistake and says it is one of his most childish moments: "On reflection, it was the most immature, ridiculous thing I've ever done.It's not clear when this understanding came, because certainly he tried to suggest it was everyone else who had misunderstood.
"The word 'queer' was used in the rap, which should never have been the case. In society, you can't use language like that. I'm 100 million per cent not homophobic and I despise that label being attached to me. I probably look like the archetypal bully. Now people look at me as if I might beat up a gay guy. That really upsets me.
"I totally understand what I did was wrong. If I could take it back, I would do that in a heartbeat."
James told The Sun: "I've been an idiot. All I can say is it was ego - foolish, foolish pride. I got ideas above my station and I made mistakes. It's the only excuse I've got."That his sister was bullied was unacceptable - she's not to blame for the actions of her brother, however unpleasant they were - and if there were death threats, then that's wrong, too. (Who would issue a death threat over an idiot being an idiot, though? Are these threats any more genuine than the apology is?)
"All my confidence has disappeared because the whole nation thinks I'm a homophobe who looks like a monster," he admitted.
"I couldn't speak to anyone for a week. It was awful. My little sister was being bullied in school and I was receiving constant death threats. I stayed in bed for days on end. Any time I tried to get up, I couldn't. I felt deep, deep shame about my mistakes since winning the show. I kept thinking, 'What the fuck have I done?'"
James worries that he's let people down:
James also accepts that his behaviour has embarrassed his record label and let down fans that looked up to him: "What I need you to know is that I do regret everything I've done. I abandoned my responsibility as a role model. A 16-year-old kid reading about the things I said and did would probably have lost a lot of respect for me."I think the surprise here is that James seems to believe he's some sort of role model in the first place; presumably in the same way that Jedward are fashion icons and Steve Brookstein is an oracle.
Most 16 year-olds would, I suspect, have sighed, been unsurprised and moved on.
The reason why I have my suspicions about the sincerity of this apology is that it doesn't appear on Arthur's website; his Facebook page; nor in his Twitter feed. In fact, if the idea is to tell the small portion of people who look up to him that he fucked up, it's odd he's made no effort to admit his mistakes in places where they might congregate.
Also, with all this regret about the mistakes he's made, he's turned the page by, er, continuing to slag off Lucy Spraggan for calling him out:
"I'm not a fan," he told The Sun.Surely you mean, James, she provided a chance for you to think about your mistakes and to make your apology, right? Because otherwise it sounds like you kind-of wish that your actions hadn't been noticed and you'd have gotten away with it. And that can't be the case, can it?
"She's a talented girl, but she has a mammoth ego. We have the same management. They are disgusted by what she did.
"I respect she's got strong beliefs in gay rights, but she tried to expose me. She knew it would stick the knife in and damage my career."