Apprentice contestant Shazia Hussain alleges she was subjected to racist bullying by fellow candidates

Lord Alan Sugar fronts The Apprentice credit:Bang Showbiz
Lord Alan Sugar fronts The Apprentice credit:Bang Showbiz

Shazia Hussain has claimed she was subjected to racist bullying by her fellow contestants on 'The Apprentice'.

The 40-year-old technology recruiter alleged she was "verbally abused" by other candidates 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.

She told The Sun on Sunday newspaper: “I felt exposed to aggression because of it. I think it was racist.”

“After the episode, I feel I was verbally abused by some of the candidates.

Shazia - whose team won the task -claimed show bosses brought in a "diversity specialist" to speak with the hopefuls but "nothing changed" and she believes she was fived after the fifth challenge "because it was easier to take [her] out of the situation.

She said: “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.

“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.

“I believe the BBC had a duty of care towards me which they neglected to fulfil.”

Shazia launched a complaint about three other candidates but claimed she has had no response.

A spokesperson for the show - which sees contestants battle it out to receive investment from Lord Alan Sugar - insisted they had taken her complaint seriously and they had offered ongoing support to the ousted candidate.

The representative said: “'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.

"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.”