Former Love Island star Molly-Mae Hague has been facing significant backlash for comments she made about the wealth gap in the UK.
Molly-Mae went into Love Island as a popular influencer, but parlayed her success on the ITV2 reality show into a deal as brand ambassador for fashion retailer PrettyLittleThing. She has since been promoted to creative director of the brand.
Hague recently went on the Diary of a CEO podcast to speak about her experience in the corporate world, but made comments many have felt were insensitive when discussing poverty and the wage gap.
Explaining how she'd run into trouble publicly discussing the issue before, Molly-Mae said: "You're given one life and it's down to you what you do with it. You can literally go in any direction.
"When I've spoken about that in the past I have been slammed a little bit, with people saying, 'It's easy for you to say that because you've not grown up in poverty, so for you to sit there and say we all have the same 24 hours in a day is not correct.'
"But, technically, what I'm saying is correct. We do."
Those comments have sparked a backlash across social media because they do not take into account economic disparity, physical or mental health struggles and numerous other hurdles people can face – particularly, but far from exclusively, during a pandemic.
The Resolution Foundation's latest report on the wage gap in the UK found that the difference between the richest 10% of the population and the poorest ⅓ in the country has vastly expanded across the nation during the pandemic, according to The Guardian.
As mentioned, Molly-Mae's comments in her recent podcast appearance have been widely criticised across the media and on social media, where numerous commenters have pointed out that the reality star appeared "tone deaf" towards the economic realities faced by millions across the UK.
"I watched the whole interview and she comes across so tone deaf it's a bit cringe," one person tweeted. "My mummy works 12 hour shifts and isn't as rich as Molly-mae Maybe she should just work harder !!!!!"
The controversy also brought up a recurring criticism of Molly-Mae's employer, PrettyLittleThing, after an independent review that found "multiple failings" over its parent company Boohoo's pay and working conditions in some factories. The review also ruled that no laws were broken.
UN Women campaigner Gina Martin tweeted on Thursday: "The garment workers making PLTs collections may have the same amount of hours in their day as Molly-Mae, but those hours are very different because they *don't* earn a living wage.
"I would like to see Molly-Mae use the hours in her day to advocate that they do."
At the time of the review's release last year, Boohoo said the report had "identified significant and clearly unacceptable issues in our supply chain, and the steps we had taken to address them, but it is clear that we need to go further and faster to improve our governance, oversight and compliance".
Digital Spy has reached out to Molly-Mae's representative for a response to this backlash to her podcast interview.
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