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 Monday, 13 January, 2003, 10:20 GMT
Girls Aloud star 'not a racist'
Cheryl Tweedy
Polydor says Cheryl Tweedy acted in self defence
Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Tweedy has denied making racist comments to a toilet attendant she is accused of assaulting.

The 19-year-old singer from Newcastle, whose band is currently No 1 in the pop charts, was arrested after an alleged assault on a black washroom attendant in a nightclub early on 11 January.

It was reported that Tweedy screamed racial abuse at London law student Sophie Amogbokpa, 39, before punching her in the face, leaving her with a badly swollen eye.

But a spokesman for the group's record company Polydor, said: "She is not racist in any way and was very upset by the suggestion that she is."

We will be meeting with our lawyers because these allegations of racial abuse are completely false.

Polydor Records

Ms Amogbokpa told the Sunday Mirror newspaper: "I was shocked. I don't care how many number ones she's had, if she was nobody, she shouldn't have said those things to me or hit me.

"I had done nothing to her and whoever gives me an eye like this should be punished."

She said Ms Tweedy had been irate and called her "a black bitch" and other racist names - saying she wanted to hit her again.

Record bosses admit the fight at the Drink Club, in Guildford took place, but deny there was any racial element and said Ms Tweedy's actions were in self-defence.

'Completely negative'

A spokesman for Polydor Records said: "Cheryl obviously deeply regrets getting into the fight but when the terminology that she was supposed to have used came out yesterday she was shocked and absolutely distraught.

"The press have been completely negative and have even been digging out ex-boyfriends of hers who happen to have been black."

He said they were now considering legal action following the claims of racism.

He said: "We will be meeting with our lawyers because these allegations of racial abuse are completely false."

Ms Tweedy was one of the five winning singers on the ITV show Popstars: The Rivals, who formed the band Girls Aloud, and who went straight to No 1 with their debut single Sound of the Underground.

Police bail

She was held by Surrey police for 10 hours after the alleged incident which happened as she and friends let their hair down after recording in a nearby studio in Guildford.

She was released without charge on police bail just in time for rehearsals before appearing on ITV's Ant and Dec Show.

The Polydor spokesman said the incident would not affect the band's future.

He added: "There is obviously a lot more to this incident than meets the eye, and we will be getting to the bottom of it.

"Cheryl is with the rest of the band at the moment and they are all being completely supportive of her."


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12 Jan 03 | England
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