SAMSON Lee Smith has blasted a petition calling for Absolutely Ascot to change his name and says it’s indicative of the prejudice he’s faced all his life.
In an explosive interview, the 22-year-old said he believes the only reason residents of the posh town want the show renamed is because some of the show’s biggest stars are from the gypsy and travellers community.
Samson is one of the ITVBE show’s most popular characters and says he’s had a brilliant reaction from those in his community who are normally wary of allowing cameras into their lives.
It took over two years for TV bosses to persuade Samson to come on board and while he’s been overwhelmed with positive comments, he says the local petition is frustrating.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun Online, Samson says: “I faced so much racism growing up – it’s disgusting.
“Racism towards gypsies and travellers is one of the only, if not the only, acceptable form of racism in modern day culture.
“The petition to get the show renamed is because there are gypsies associated with the area. I think it’s an underlying race issue.”
Growing up in Slough, Samson faced racial abuse on a daily basis and was taunted at school for being a gypsy.
He explains: “At school I was picked on and called the Pikey. That is the lowest as the low. It’s like calling a person of colour the N word. But that word gets bandied around they don’t realise the harm and the hurt they cause.
“I did feel isolated as a child. At school you had to tick a box to say if you were a gypsy or traveller.
“And then you were put in a classroom with other gypsies and travellers and a teacher who knew nothing about our culture tried to teach us about being a gypsy or a traveller. The whole system is useless. It might be better now but if it isn’t, it shows how nothing is changing.”
Samson hoped he would have left the taunts and the prejudice at the school gates.
However he says he still faces discrimination on a daily basis.
Samson adds: “I’ve been stopped from entering bars and restaurants for being a gypsy. They will never tell you the real reason.
“I always dress smart in trousers, shoes and a shirt and they’ll stop me coming in. The most ridiculous excuse I’ve ever heard is being told I couldn’t go into an establishment because I had curly hair.
All you can do is end your night and go time. I am polite, I don’t want to row with anyone.
“But people have their judgements on who they think travellers and gypsies are and it shines through.”
Taking part in Absolutely Ascot, Samson says, is allowing viewers an insight into what life is really like for many people in the gypsy and traveller community.
And it’s this which gives him hope the show will be commissioned for a second series.
Samson says: “Being on Absolutely Ascot is giving a real representation of my life, it’s not like My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.
“It shows off our culture and our community. I’ve had people stop me in the street to tell me how much I love the show.
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“And I’ve had an amazing response on the gypsy community. I’m giving them real representation.
“Getting a second series would be like my birthday and Christmas coming all at once because I want to keep showing people what being part of the gypsy and traveller community is really like.”
Absolutely Ascot continues on Sunday at 10pm on ITVBE.
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