Love Island contestant Mike Boateng has admitted lying to take a day off work "out of panic", a police disciplinary panel heard.
The ex-Greater Manchester constable claimed there were problems with a flight home from New York.
He felt "victimised" and breached standards after incidents including a colleague calling him a "gorilla", the panel heard.
Boateng, 24, was not barred from serving as a police officer.
However the panel chairman said had he still been a PC he would have had a final warning.
Boateng, who appeared on the winter series of Love Island earlier this year, admitted lying to his superiors on returning from a holiday in December 2018.
The hearing chairman, Merseyside Police Chief Constable Andy Cooke, said Boateng told a colleague he could not work on 7 December 2018 due to a mix-up by British Airways.
He returned to work next day but kept lying when asked for proof about the delay.
Judy Khan QC, representing Boateng, accepted his behaviour was gross misconduct but there were "clear mitigating circumstances".
She added Boateng, from London, was made to stand by a computer as his superiors compared him with ex non-league footballer Michael Boateng, who was jailed for match-fixing in 2014.
Boateng was also called a "gorilla" by another trainee in a role-play training exercise. The colleague said the remark was made "in the heat of the moment".
She added: "Mr Boateng's clear impression was that he was being treated differently to fellow recruits and that persisted beyond his training."
He felt "victimised" and under closer scrutiny by colleagues which left him needing time off for depression.
When he returned from New York he was experiencing jetlag and felt unfit for duty, said Ms Khan, adding: "He acted in a way which was wholly out of character. He lied out of panic."
Mr Cooke ruled Boateng breached police standards of professional behaviour for honesty and integrity and discreditable conduct.
However, he said it was clear the ex-officer was suffering from stress and would not have been sacked if he was still in the police but issued with a final written warning.
Boateng smiled as he was told his name would not appear on the College of Policing barred list.