'Apprentice UK' host Alan Sugar in hot water over "racially offensive" tweet

The former Tottenham Hotspur chairman says his "attempt at humour has backfired"

'Apprentice UK' host Alan Sugar in hot water over "racially offensive" tweet

File photo of Alan Sugar leaving East London Tribunal Courts in London, 12-03-2013. Image: Philip Toscano/PA Archive/PA Images

Former Tottenham Hotspur chairman Alan Sugar is facing a British Parliament investigation after he compared Senegal's football team to people who sell merchandise on Spanish beaches.

The tweet - sent in the early hours of the morning - led to immediate accusations of racism.

He has since apologised, claiming the tweet was "misjudged" and insisting "it was in no way intended to cause offence, and clearly my attempt at humour has backfired."

The BBC, which broadcasts his programme, 'The Apprentice,' said the comment had been "seriously misjudged."

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's spokesman said the tweet was "quite clearly racially offensive, and should be investigated by the parliamentary standards authorities."

Posting a picture of the Senegal team on Twitter, with images of sunglasses and handbags crudely added underneath, Mr Sugar wrote: "I recognise some of these guys from the beach in Marbella. Multi tasking resourceful chaps."

Twitter user Mike Lewis wrote: "The entire joke revolves around you making a stereotype based on the colour of somebody's skin. You're fired pal."

Actress Kelechi Okafor said he was "constructing this joke on the premise that all black people 1) look alike 2) are poor 3) cannot achieve social mobility."

Following the complaints, Mr Sugar said he had been reading the reaction to his "funny tweet."

"Seems it has been interpreted in the wrong way as offensive by a few people," he wrote.

"Frankly I can't see that - I think it's funny. But I will pull it down if you insist."

Later, he offered a full apology, writing: "I misjudged my earlier tweet.

"It was in no way intended to cause offence, and clearly my attempt at humour has backfired.

"I have deleted the tweet and am very sorry."

The BBC said: "Lord Sugar has acknowledged this was a seriously misjudged tweet, and he's in no doubt about our view on this. It's right he's apologised unreservedly."

The businessman is no stranger to controversy on social media.

He recently took down another tweet which showed Jeremy Corbyn in a car next to Adolf Hitler, following allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.