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Verizon pulls sponsorship from dirty dancing singer

Bad choice of dance partner

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US mobile operator Verizon has had a fit of moral outrage and cut sponsorship of a tour featuring R'n'B artist Akon after he dry humped a 15-year-old girl - the daughter of a preacher - on stage.

Verizon had signed on to pony up for the North American lollop of bequiffed pop strumpet Gwen Stefani's world tour, where Akon was due on as warm-up act. However, during a concert in Trinidad in April, Akon decided to simulate berserk intercourse on stage with the local girl, invoking the ire of, erm, pretty much everyone.

Verizon spokesman Eric Rabe confirmed the plug had been pulled because of the weird video. He told the BBC: "We had already agreed to sponsor the Stefani tour when Akon was brought in and we have kept that situation under review. We have now decided to withdraw and the video was part of that decision."

Stefani's management say they are still counting the cost of the underage humping.

The video's probably NSFW, and Verizon thinks it not safe for a family mobile network to be associated with. The girl's father, Pastor Dave Alleyne of the Flaming Word Ministry of Chaguanas, was more forgiving. He said: "She likes dancing and won a competition. They [children] are innocent to the wicked ways of the world and it is our responsibility as elders to keep them safe."

In the UK, mobile operators have less moral conscience. Jerry Lee Lewis should give O2 a call and get back on the road: only yesterday, it trumpeted its gushing support of Prince's 21 London shows the summer, even though the stiletto fetishist and sex-obsessive inflicted several more years of mongrel-accented Scot Sheena Easton on a shocked world than her talent morally demanded. ®

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