Apprentice star apologises for comments about travellers

The new series of The Apprentice hasn’t even started yet, but already one of the contestants is up to their necks in it.

Alana Spencer
BBC

Cake company owner Alana Spencer has been forced to apologise after the Daily Star unearthed a series of foul-mouthed, racially-charged tweets from a few years ago.

The 24-year-old used the word “pikey”, a derogatory term for gypsies and travellers, in internet posts dating back to 2010.

In one tweet, Alana complains about a noisy child on a journey and tells the mum to “control your children you pikey fat b****.” In other tweets she makes reference to “chav pikeys” and “jobless pikey scum.”

Alana Spencer
Alana Spencer/Instagram

“I am truly sorry if my comments have offended anyone,” Alana said in a sheepish statement of apology. “They were the words of a naive young girl from a number of years ago and I would never write such things now.

“I was brought up in the wider travelling community by my parents, so the thought that my words could offend anyone in that community, or indeed any community, has upset me.”

The BBC has a bit of history with the term, coming under fire back in 2015 when Jeremy Clarkson was seen holding up a sign that ready ‘Pikey’s Peak’ during an episode of Top Gear.

The corporation was eventually cleared by TV watchdog Ofcom, who said: “We found that, while some in the audience would perceive the word pikey as a derogatory term for gypsies and travellers, on balance there was sufficient context in the way the word was used to minimise offence.

“However, we have advised broadcasters this doesn’t mean the use of the word is acceptable in any programme in any context and that it is capable of causing significant offence in certain contexts.”

As well as Clarkson, celebrity chef Marco Pierre-White was called out for using the expression ‘pikey’s picnic’ on an episode of ITV’s Hell’s Kitchen, which sparked an almighty row with singer Lee Ryan, who then walked out of the show.

The Apprentice
BBC
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