Lee Ryan: Blue singer found guilty of racially aggravated assault on flight
Blue singer Lee Ryan found guilty of racially aggravated assault towards flight attendant
Blue star Lee Ryan has been found guilty of racially aggravated assault after telling a black flight attendant "I want your chocolate children" while drunk.
The 39-year-old singer was "slurring his words and staggering around" after drinking a bottle of port before a British Airways flight from Glasgow to London City Airport on July 31 last year, a court heard.
After being refused more alcohol on the plane and told to return to his seat, Ryan made comments about Leah Gordon's looks, calling her a "chocolate cookie" before grabbing her wrists.
Ryan was found guilty at Ealing Magistrates' Court of being drunk on an aircraft, assaulting a police officer by biting him, racially aggravated common assault by beating and behaving in an abusive way towards the cabin crew member.
Ms Gordon said: "He was making comments about my complexion, you're my chocolate darling, my chocolate cookie, and I'm going to have your chocolate children." Ryan, who was tearful in the dock before giving evidence, told the court his actions were merely "playful" and denied use of the word chocolate was racist.
Ryan was one of the four members of Blue, a popular British boy band in the early noughties, known for songs like All Rise, One Love, and Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word. The group split in 2004 and Ryan launched a solo career, before appearing in Celebrity Big Brother 13 in 2014.
Blue reformed in 2014 to represent the UK at EuroVision, where they placed 11th overall. Ryan appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2018, but was the second celebrity to be voted out.