The Apprentice’s Amy Anzel backed by close pal after homophobic remarks backlash

Apprentice star Amy Anzel's close friend has jumped to her defence after she was previously accused of being homophobic by presenter John Barrowman in 2013.

Amy received criticism following remarks she made on national television telling a dancer to "strip away the gay" and questioned if he was homosexual.

Before appearing on The Apprentice, which returned to screens on Thursday night, Amy starred in Channel 4's Sound Of Musicals and judged auditionees for her production debut of Happy Days.

While the programme was on an astonished John, 54, took to Twitter to blast Amy for her comments which he believed to be offensive to the LBGTQ+ community.

However, Amy's close pal and Gay influencer Scott McGlynn told Daily Star that he believes the previous remarks made by Amy had been "taken out of context."

He said: "I have known Amy Anzel for years, I am a gay man and proud to be an active member of our community, she has never ever said anything remotely homophobic to me or shared any homophobic opinions."

He continued: "I think this has been taken out of context and must not be allowed to affect her chances on the show.

"She is an excellent businesswoman and it feels like this is a slur campaign on her. Amy is one of the loveliest people I know and a good friend. It is ridiculous."

Since John's views on her were shared with the wider public, Amy insisted that her comments were taken completely out of context and dismissed claims of homophobia.

Talking to the MailOnline she explained: "Unfortunately this comment was taken completely out of context. In reality, I was giving a dancer creative direction during an audition for a show that I was producing.

"To suggest that I’m even slightly homophobic is completely untrue. I’m a huge supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, always have been and always will be."

The incident first took place when dancer Steven Hardcastle auditioned for the show which was based on the popular TV series set in 1950's America.

In order for Steven to portray the character he was auditioning for, Amy suggested that he should "strip away the gay".

However, when Steven did react to her outlandish comment, Amy replied: "You are gay, right? I love my gays!"

The Apprentice contestant's comments certainly caused uproar online, with John tweeting: "Holly s**t! Did Amy Anzul actually say that about gays? I love my gays, strip away the gay."

Following the outrage received online, beauty entrepreneur Amy was forced to address the claims soon after the show aired.

Talking to The Gay UK she said: "I just wish John Barrowman spelled my name right.

"Seriously, I don't understand, I was just asking him 'You are gay?'. That's not approving or disapproving.

"I don't necessarily agree with defending myself but I'm happy to explain. I would have said to a straight person auditioning for a gay role to strip away the straight and be more gay – it goes both ways."

The Apprentice continues Thursday on BBC One at 9pm

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