Dancing On Ice's Head Coach Karen Barber told show producers not to sack Jason Gardiner following the pair's on-air argument during Sunday's show, it has been claimed. According to The Mirror, Karen had told bosses that she just wanted to "move on" from the incident, which has to date attracted over 3,000 complaints.
Karen found herself in tears when Jason told her during the weekend's performance show: “If your opinion still mattered you’d be on the panel.”
A friend of Karen's told The Mirror: “Jason Gardiner has acted like nothing more than a playground bully, he thought he could speak to Karen in the way he slags off the show’s contestants but there was no way she was going to take that.”
The friend added: "He isn’t fit to lace Karen’s ice skates.
“It’s incredible that apart from Karen on the night, no one else has confronted Jason about his behaviour.”
Meanwhile according to telly insiders, the row could lead to Karen returning to the judging panel. "This week there have been talks about giving Karen back her slot on the panel," a source told the newspaper. “As well as allowing her to respond to Jason more directly, it would also mean that the judging panel had more actual skating experts on board.
“It would be a kind of victory for Karen in her row with Jason, but also for the majority of viewers who seem to be on her side and really value her opinion.”
Friends of the skater however are angry that Jason has "gotten away" with the comments, saying: “Last week when Andy Gray and Richard Keys made comments off air on Sky Sports about a woman’s ability to do her job, they lost theirs.
“This week Jason Gardiner did effectively the same thing – but on air in front of millions. And he is still in a job! How can that be fair? But Karen is too kind-hearted to ever want anyone to lose their job over her.
“She just wants to put the whole thing in the past now.”
An ITV spokesperson would only confirm to the publication: “We are concentrating on the current series and have made no final decisions about Dancing on Ice in 2012.”