EXCLUSIVE: Pat Sharp, the British presenter known for his work on Top of the Pops and Fun House, has said he is “truly sorry” after making a lewd remark to a woman while hosting an events industry awards show.
The 61-year-old broadcaster, who shot to fame in the 1980s, was compèring the Conference News Agency Awards last Friday when he made a joke that shocked a room of around 400 people, according to several sources.
The incident has coincided with Greatest Hits Radio announcing today that Sharp is leaving the Bauer Media Group station to “explore other opportunities.” It is understood that Bauer made a decision some time ago not to renew Sharp’s contract, which expires at the end of March. However, having been made aware of the incident, Bauer said Sharp will “not return to the station with immediate effect.”
People in attendance at the Conference News Agency Awards said Sharp handed a female guest a T-shirt adorned with an image of his face. The picture was a throwback to his famous 1980s mullet and, according to one guest, featured the phrase: “Looking Sharp since 1982.”
The woman, who is in her 30s, later joined Sharp onstage wearing the T-shirt, when he is said to have made a comment about his image being on her chest.
There is more than one recollection of the precise words Sharp used, but a representative for the presenter said he told the woman: “That’s the only way I’m going to get on your t*ts.” The representative said it was intended as a double entendre for “get on your nerves.”
The woman concerned was visibly upset by the remark, witnesses said. She removed the T-shirt and left the room in tears. Sharp’s joke was criticized onstage by at least one other woman, who was presenting an award on the night.
“For the day and age we live in, it was completely unacceptable,” said one guest who was in the room during the incident. “It was inappropriate and disgusting … it was the talk of the evening and completely ruined the atmosphere.”
Sharp’s representative said that the presenter apologized to the audience for the joke, though this was disputed by two attendees, who did not recall him saying sorry. Sharp has since apologized to the individual concerned.
He said: “Last Friday, I made a joke on stage which was not well received. I upset one individual in particular and for that I am truly sorry. I apologised at the event to anyone who was offended and I have apologised to the individual personally too.”
Deadline is not naming the woman, though she has published a statement about her experience on LinkedIn. Without identifying Sharp or being specific about the incident, she said she felt “humiliated” by the presenter. “I was belittled, sexualised and objectified in front of hundreds of people I respect,” she wrote. It is understood that she has not accepted Sharp’s apology.
Mash Media, the company that organized the Conference News Agency Awards, released a statement over the weekend describing it as an “appalling incident.” It did not name Sharp, but said it had contacted his team to voice its “disgust.”
The company said it received complaints from guests, who said Sharp should have been “removed” as a speaker at the event. “Looking back, we accept we did not take appropriate action at the time and will be putting safeguards in place to ensure we do better in future,” it said.
In a statement to Deadline, Mash Media added: “Conference News disavows the statement made by Pat Sharp, it was unscripted and does not represent the ideals that we want to promote as a business. We’re doing our part to support the affected delegate in the aftermath and have requested both a public and private apology from Sharp.”
Greatest Hits Radio
Greatest Hits Radio said Wednesday that Sharp was leaving his weekend show and will effectively be replaced by Mark Goodier from April 8. Sharp has presented for Greatest Hits since 2019.
Gary Stein, group program director of Hits Radio, said: “We will be saying goodbye to Pat Sharp who is leaving us to explore other opportunities and we wish him well.”
A Bauer spokesperson added: “Due to the introduction of new weekend programming, a decision had already been made not to renew Pat’s contract which comes to an end later this month. However with this issue now having been brought to our attention, we have agreed with Pat that he will not return to the station with immediate effect.”
Sharp has presented radio shows since the start of his career, but is perhaps best known for hosting Fun House, the anarchic ITV kids show that was based on the Fox show of the same name. He also hosted the BBC’s iconic chart show Top of the Pops.
He has regularly been booked as a guest for major primetime shows, appearing on BBC1’s Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel in 2021. He finished 10th in the 2011 season of ITV’s I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!
Must Read Stories
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.