'The Circle' Star Arrested for Assault

Freddie Bentley, a social media influencer who appeared on the U.K. version of The Circle, was reportedly arrested late last month after defending himself from a homophobic attack. Bentley, 24, was the runner-up of The Circle Season 1, finishing behind Alex Hobern. The U.S. version is available on Netflix.

Bentley spent the night of March 26 in a police cell after getting into a fight at a bar in Rayleigh, Essex. According to The Sun, someone yelled, "That's that gay c— from the telly," Bentley told the outlet three men began shouting other homophobic slurs after they recognized him from The Circle.

"At first, I tried to ignore it, thinking 'I'm better than them, ignore it," Bentley said. "But they kept shouting over at me. I went over and said, 'Are you talking to me?' I felt so threatened and intimidated that I knew I had to stand up for myself."

The men caught him at a "vulnerable moment," Bentley said. He threw his drink at the men, then a bouncer held him back and asked him to leave. The bouncer suffered a cut on his cheek, leading the pub staff to call the police.

"I was in such a panic and frustrated. I lost my head. I tried to explain I was being homophobically attacked. I felt I needed to say something and make a stand. Homophobia is not OK," Bentley told The Sun. "It triggered me, and I just lost it. I was trying to get the bouncer off of me and accidentally caught the bouncer with my hand."

Police arrested Bentley and charged him with three common assaults for throwing a drink, pushing an alleged victim, and scratching another. Police interrogated him at a nearby police station. After watching surveillance camera footage of the incident, the police dropped the charges.

"I never thought I would spend the night in a cell. It has shaken me up," Bentley told The Sun. "I hope they get punished in the appropriate way. It's 2022, and homophobia is still rife. People can't help the fact they're gay or transgender. It's not OK to victimize someone because you're different."

Essex police confirmed Bentley was no longer facing charges. "Based on the evidence currently available, a decision has been made to refuse to charge you in respect of the above offense(s) because the evidence did not meet the evidential stage of the full code test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors," they told The Sun.

The original U.K. version of The Circle debuted in September 2018 on Channel 4. The final season aired in 2021, but Netflix is reportedly in talks with Studio Lambert to revive it. Netflix is also home to French and Brazillian versions.