Tory leadership race frontrunner Boris Johnson called the French “turds” and accused them of “shafting Britain” during filming for a BBC documentary series while he was U.K. foreign minister, reported the Daily Mail.

The “shafting” comment went to air, but Foreign Office officials negotiated the removal of “French turds” on the grounds it could cause “significant damage” to the U.K. and make Anglo-French relations “awkward,” according to a leaked Whitehall memo obtained by the Mail.

The BBC wanted to keep the reference, arguing it was an authentic portrayal of Johnson, but eventually backed down, according to the report.

Johnson, the favorite to succeed Theresa May as British prime minister, has previously justified his gaffes by saying he was speaking his mind.

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