Loose Women broadcaster Judy Finnigan has been forced to apologise after she suggested that former Wales international Ched Evans should be allowed to return to football after serving a jail sentence for rape.
The 25-year-old is due to be released in the coming days after serving two years of a five-year sentence in prison after he was found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman at a hotel near Rhyl, Denbighshire.
During the ITV broadcast, Finnigan 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?"
After receiving a barrage of criticism from viewers, Finnigan released an apology, which read: "I absolutely wasn't suggesting that rape was anything other than an horrendous crime and, as I said on the programme, I was in no way attempting to minimise the terrible ordeal that any woman suffers as a result.
"The point I was attempting to raise as part of the debate was what should happen to someone after they have committed a crime and served their time? I apologise unreservedly for any offence that I may have caused as a result of the wording I used."