Junaid Ahmed, 27, has revealed that he was the victim of a homophobic attack over the weekend while on a night out in London's Mayfair.
The TOWIE star, who is currently appearing on the new series of the show, was enjoying a night with his co-star Dani Imbert, 25, and recalled being the target of discriminatory language from a group of men during the evening.
Admitting he wanted to be swallowed up by the ground as the incident took place, Junaid revealed the revellers called him a 'gay c**t' and said they didn't want to be 'anywhere near him' due to his homosexuality.
Talking on the incident with MailOnline, he shared: "I'm just really shaken up, to be honest. I obviously love going out in Mayfair, I'm there all the time so I'm just really shaken up."
Junaid claims that things began when a group inside the bar asked for a picture with the recognisable reality stars, before one member said he didn't want to be 'anywhere near' the star.
He recalled: "He was shouting homophobic abuse at me and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is actually crazy… in the middle of May Fair Bar, I'm mortified and embarrassed'.
"He's shouting all this abuse at me and then his mates are all getting involved just hurling the most homophobic abuse at me. I couldn't believe we were in a public setting and they were doing this. I've literally never felt like I wanted the ground to swallow me up more."
The star praised the 'helpful' bar staff, sharing that they came to his aid to check on things, before he decided to remove himself from the situation.
Still reeling from the incident, Junaid also admitted that, other than on social media, this was his first negative experience, describing it as a 'shock to the system'.
Despite the vile attack, the star confirmed that he wouldn't let it stop him from going out in the area and enjoying a party lifestyle – describing himself as a 'social butterfly'.
Junaid joined The Only Way Is Essex last year and has quickly integrated as a staple in the group – telling OK! at the time of joining that he 'lives and breathes drama'.
But new episodes have seen the star open up on his emotions as he detailed not being accepted by his family because of his sexuality in raw scenes with castmate Jordan Brook.
The star can be seen tearing up while chatting with his pal, admitting that castmate drama is also playing on his mind as he has been seen feuding with fellow stars – being accused of 'people pleasing' by several.
During the recent episode, he explains: “It’s just all gone t**s up”.
Jordan responds: “Yeah, yeah, of course. It’s hard. I’ve done it my entire life being friends with everyone. I don’t like seeing you how you are now”.
An emotional Junaid replies: “It just hurts Jord like I don’t mean to be a bad person. Like I’m not a bad person, do you know what I mean?
Moments later Junaid is seen in tears as he adds: “It just hurts because the last two days I’ve felt to s*** and I’ve felt so on my own. I’ve never felt like this.”
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