BBC launch investigation into The Apprentice’s Lottie Lion following fresh racism, bullying and homophobia allegations

The Sun Lifestyle 1 day ago

TV bosses have launched an investigation after fresh racism allegations against The Apprentice contestant Lottie Lion.

Librarian Lottie, 19, told fellow contestant Lubna Farhan, 33, in a WhatsApp group to “shut up Gandhi” and “I’ll f*** you up”.

The BBC have launched an investigation into The Apprentice’s Lottie Lion after fresh racism allegations emerged

And now at least two more contestants on the hit BBC show are believed to have lodged complaints about Lottie’s behaviour.

They claim that racism, bullying and homophobia were hushed up during filming. One contestant has complained directly to the BBC, and said they were considering legal action.

Production company Boundless, the UK arm of Fremantle Media, has now launched a formal inquiry into the claims.

It could see them hauling in contestants for questioning into incidents in the candidates’ house during and after filming.

Librarian Lottie told fellow contestant Lubna Farhan, pictured, in a WhatsApp group to ‘shut up Gandhi’ and ‘I’ll f*** you up’

Executives there have told candidates the inquiry will last a week and they will then reveal their “findings” about Lottie.

Furious contestants want her axed from all future appearances including on spin-off show You’re Fired due to the scandal.

They claim that as well as the texts, she made racist and homophobic comments in the house during filming.

They include claiming that the area of Somerset she is from has a low crime rate “because not many black people live there”.

Furious contestants want her axed from future appearances

She is also said to have regularly referred to contestant Ryan-Mark Parsons, 19, as “the short gay one” and Riyonn Farsad, 30, as “the tall gay one”.

Lottie is also accused of making derogatory comments about transgender women, saying they would not be allowed into the “ladies club” she belongs to.

She also told other candidates that she admired Katie Hopkins, 44, who appeared in the third series and has gone on to become a highly controversial public figure.

And Lottie is also said to have told fellow contestants she had never spoken to a black person before going on the show.

Lottie, bottom left, is also accused of making derogatory comments about transgender women

One candidate stormed out of the house during filming and threatened to quit the show after becoming enraged by “racist” comments allegedly made by Lottie. Another is now said to be having counselling because of her alleged behaviour.

A handful of producers and crew from Boundless lived alongside contestants in the show’s £12million mansion in North London Candidates made complaints to staff during filming, which took place between April and June.

But a show source said last night: “The message that came back was ‘Oh she is only young, let it go’. It was not taken seriously and basically swept under the carpet. But Lottie’s behaviour was outrageous.

“She revelled in being compared to Katie Hopkins, and everyone on the show thought Katie was Lottie’s role model. A lot of people were talking about the comments about black people and were not happy.

Sources told how Lubna, right, is ‘extremely angry and upset’

“She also made the homophobic comments, which were totally unnecessary. Contestants complained to producers in the house and asked them to look into it.

“There were at least three people there the whole time — they would only leave when candidates went to sleep at 9pm and would be back by 4am.

“They brushed it all off and it made people angry. The other contestants were furious then and are even more furious now.

“The racism issue is a big one and it is going to blow up in the show and the BBC’s face. It is not going to go away and people are shocked with how it’s been handled.”

Candidates are barred from speaking to the Press until Lord Sugar, centre, has fired them

Sources have told us that one contestant complained to TV bosses about Lottie six weeks ago. And another candidate has lodged a complaint this week.

That has prompted the formal investigation that will see the show’s contestants questioned. Lottie has called the claims against her “untrue”.

But she was immediately called out by fellow candidate Souleyman Bah, 20. He said on Twitter: “Of course it’s true.

“I watched as you posted that message and felt disgusted and how you could be so blatantly racist towards Lubna. The comment about black people is subtly showing off that you don’t mix with people like us.”

Lottie denies being a racist

TV executives are now braced for a storm that could erupt as and when contestants including Souleyman are fired on the show. Candidates are barred from speaking to the Press until Lord Sugar has fired them.

Our source added: “The contestants feel like this has been hushed up — and are really angry about Lottie denying it when she should have apologised. There is a feeling she is getting away with it and being protected by the production company and the BBC.

“TV people have even contacted contestants telling them about the inquiry and warning them not to put stuff on social media that could harm the show’s image. But trying to hush it up is only going to make matters worse.

“Someone like Souleyman is likely to speak out when he is fired — and it will create a whole new s***-storm for the BBC.

Fellow candidate Souleyman backed the allegations against Lottie

“The show will try to keep a lid on it, but won’t be able to. There is a feeling this should have been cracked down on in the house.”

Before filming, contestants sign a contract that warns they will be booted out for bad behaviour. Our source added: “It seem that the Apprentice team have not stuck to their side of the deal.

“And that is part of the reason people are so angry. Lubna bore the brunt of it and is keeping quiet — for the moment. But she is extremely angry and upset. She feels bosses have failed in a duty of care towards her.

“And she is really disappointed in Lottie. If she had apologised and admitted being in the wrong, Lubna and others would accept that. But her behaviour since the story broke has rubbed salt into the wounds.”

Last night show bosses confirmed an investigation had been launched. An Apprentice spokeswoman said: “We are currently looking into the circumstances regarding a complaint.”

Lottie said: “I categorically deny being a racist, transphobic or homophobic. I have no further comment.”




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