Jason Manford responds to backlash over his April Fool's Day coronavirus joke on Good Morning Britain

Megan Davies
Photo credit: Carla Speight - Getty Images

From Digital Spy

The Masked Singer star Jason Manford has responded to the backlash he received for making a joke about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on April Fool's Day while appearing on Good Morning Britain.

Jason, who was unmasked as Hedgehog in the finale of the ITV competition show, shared a photoshopped image of a breaking news banner declaring that schools would "re-open tomorrow" on his social media pages on Tuesday (March 31).

"It's April Fool's Day tomorrow, if you wanted to use this on your children I'm not stopping you!" he commented.

Photo credit: Twitter

Related: April Fool's Day 2020 – All the best pranks, and who has refrained and why

Not everyone saw the funny side, though, and Jason's post was later called "cruel", "unkind" and "not in the least bit funny".

During an appearance on GMB on Thursday (April 2), Susanna asked Jason for his top tips on keeping people's spirits up while we're in lockdown, and Jason replied that he thinks that laughing is "one of the most important things you can do".

"I was doing some jokes yesterday on Twitter and social media that some people took the wrong way," he told presenters Ben Shephard and Susanna Reid.

Photo credit: ITV

"I think sometimes, you know, we've got to take a step back and realise that everybody is in the same boat. Laughter is so important. It releases endorphins, it thins the blood, it burns calories."

"It's one of the most important things you can do, so find a comedy show – there's some brilliant stand-up shows, brilliant sitcoms, comedy films," he added.

"Make sure you have a laugh every day. It's one of the healthiest things you can do."

Photo credit: ITV

Earlier this year, Jason became the runner-up on ITV's version of The Masked Singer and the comedian later detailed the extreme measures the show enforces to keep the celebrities' identities a secret.

"I had to [keep the secret] legally," he shared. "You sign NDAs and stuff. I didn't even tell my kids… I've not told anybody. It was like MI5 stuff."

The Masked Singer aired on ITV. Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am.

The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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