The Apprentice star Shazia Hussain claimed that she experienced ‘racist bullying’ during her stint on the show.
It’s been alleged that Hussain, a technology recruiter from London, was ‘verbally abused’ by her fellow co-stars after she came up with a giraffe character named Yogita during a task to create a pre-school cartoon, but some of the other members of her team felt children wouldn’t be able to pronounce the name.
Reflecting on the moment, the former TV personality, 40, admitted that she was ‘exposed to aggression’ because of it, adding: ‘I think it was racist.’
Although her team ended up winning the task, Hussain revealed show bosses brought in a ‘diversity specialist’ to speak with the hopefuls but nothing changed.
‘They [the BBC] brought in a diversity specialist to talk to everyone but I feel nothing changed. The teams were also rearranged but I feel the bullying continued,’ she told The Sun.
‘I feel like I was bullied and harassed to the point that I asked to leave the house. I feel like the BBC have failed me.
In a statement sent to Metro.co.uk, a spokesperson told Metro.co.uk: ‘The Apprentice has a zero-tolerance policy on any kind of bullying or threatening behaviour. As soon as Shazia raised a concern an investigation was conducted and she received in-person support from senior members of the production team.
‘The Apprentice has a strict code of conduct and we take all complaints very seriously and investigate when needed. As a result, when action is required, we take it.’
They continued: ‘Throughout the process there is always somebody on hand to deal with any concerns including five members of the production team who live in the house with the candidates during filming. If anyone wants to leave the house or the process, candidates are free to do so at any time.
‘Since the beginning of the process, Shazia, along with all other candidates, has been, and continues to be, offered extensive and ongoing support, in all aspects of welfare (including managing social media), from BBC and the production company. Duty of care to all our candidates is our highest priority and the support offered to candidates before, during and after is paramount.’
The Apprentice returns on Thursday at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
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