Queer Eye star Tan France has opened up about his experiences of racism and colourism, including the harrowing experience of being beaten and “left for dead” at the age of five.
Speaking on This Morning, France explained that he was beaten by a group of men at the age of five on his way to school.
“A group of men beat me and left me for dead, and it was purely because I’m Pakistani and in England,” he said, explaining the horrific experience is “the reason I don’t live in the UK now”.
France said that he was walking to school alone as his mother was working, and his brother, who he would usually walk with, was sick.
“It was common, it happened very regularly,” he said.
Tan France appeared on the show to promote his new documentary, about skin bleaching.
He began bleaching his own skin aged nine, and said it was partly because he “wanted people to not realise at first glance that I was Asian”.
France explained the difference between racism and colourism, stating that colourism happens within communities and is based on “how light or how dark you are”.
“If you are lighter skinned you are perceived as more worthy,” he added.
Tan France explained that he understand just how horrific his experiences had been after the recent birth of his son, and that he was concerned he would “feel the things that I felt”.
He said: “I wanted him to know that I had done all I could to make sure that people understand and hopefully to convince people to not judge him based on his skin tone.”
He added: “When you have kids you start to realise how disgusting it is, when I was a kid I thought ‘oh it’s just a matter of fact, it’s just our life’… now that I have children I realise the thought of my child going through that makes me feel physically sick.”
On a brighter note, France said in the segment that he was campaigning for Queer Eye to come to the UK.
“I would love to do a UK version, however I think the only way we’re gunna do it is if we do a new Queer Eye and maybe with me on that cast”, he said, drawing comparisons to Queer Eye Germany.
“I want to spend just a few months in the UK!”
Tan France: Beauty and the Bleach will air at 9pm next Wednesday (27 April) on BBC Two.