Tulisa apologises to Misha B in updated response to 'X Factor' race row

Tulisa has issued an apology to 'X Factor' contestant Misha B. (Getty Images)
Tulisa Contostavlos has issued an apology to 'X Factor' contestant Misha B. (Getty Images)

Tulisa Contostavlos has said she is “truly sorry” for the “hurt” Misha B experienced as a result of her portrayal on The X Factor.

The former N-Dubz star and talent show judge maintains there was “nothing racial” in her treatment of the 2011 X Factor contestant, but she has issued a new statement in reaction to Misha’s claims she was purposefully depicted as a bully.

Tulisa, 31, wrote in a lengthy statement on Instagram: "I can clearly see a black female was & is still hurt by my actions on The X Factor. That became overshadowed in my mind last week.

When I first posted a video it was more a reaction to online violent/death threats to myself and my family and people telling me to kill myself. It was on a massive scale and I jumped to defence mode. I sent Misha a separate message when I first posted that vid to apologise because my post was less about her and more an emotional reaction.”

Read more: Little Mix's Leigh-Anne Pinnock feared she'd lose career by speaking about racism

Misha B performs during the JLS Foundation OJAM in aid of Cancer Research UK at Battersea Evolution in London  on June 6th, 2013 (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP Images)
Misha B claimed she was portrayed as "overconfident because I was black" on 'The X Factor'. (AP)

The singer went on: “I fully acknowledge the pain I caused & fully accept people should be angry about it. I can state again there was nothing racial in my thought process. When I referred to Misha as being feisty and competitive that was a reflection in myself because I saw myself in Misha. We are both very strong women and when I communicate with people I always jump to what I have in common to find a basis to connect.

"However, I totally understand that it made Misha feel a certain way as a young black girl hearing it from a young white girl on a huge platform, living in the oppressed society we do, full of racial slurs and undertones not knowing my thought process.

"This I can only acknowledge, apologise for and hold my hands up and say I'm truly sorry. It was something I did not understand at the time. I made a mistake and I completely take on board how that mistake has been viewed.”

Tulisa went on to say she was only 22 when she worked as a judge and mentor on the ITV talent show and “didn't have any guidance .”

She said: “If I could go back in time I would have pulled myself aside, spoke about the issues then probably have opened up about my own issues and we'd have had an open and honest dialogue and maybe found some common ground in a childhood upbringings.

“That's what I would do now and that's the person I am today. I don't have many regrets, but I regret what happened with us. All my other mistakes only affected me, I can live with that. But that mistake affected you."

From left, Irish pop impresario Louis Walsh, British singer Tulisa Contostavlos, U.S. singer Kelly Rowland and British singer Gary Barlow, pose for photographers  at the  press launch, for the British version of X Factor at a central London venue, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Jonathan Short)
Tulisa Contostavlos was the youngest member of 'The X Factor' judging panel alongside Louis Walsh, Kelly Rowland and Gary Barlow in 2011. (AP)

Tulisa also referenced fellow judge Gary Barlow’s past claims that The X Factor producers tried to influence him to spark drama on the show.

She said: "I've seen a lot of talk about Gary mentioning manipulation from producers which people are relating this situation. I can confirm myself and Gary had separate producers assigned to us so I can't speak for his experience, only my own."

In his 2018 autobiography A Better Me, Barlow wrote: "About half an hour before the show goes live, the producers would come in and and they’d go, ‘Oh my God. That Misha. She’s a bully. Can’t believe it. She is such a bully. In fact, you know what? You should say it. You should say it on air. She’s bullied everyone all week.’"

Tulisa ended her message with a heartfelt apology to Misha, saying: "I can only tell you once again how sorry I am for the years of hurt and pain you've experienced and that I was a part of that.

Misha B attending the Baileys Feaster Egg Hunt at Harvey Nichols in London.   (Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)
Misha B was just 19 when she appeared on the ITV talent show in 2011. (Getty Images)

"I don't want to see anyone hurting let alone be the cause of it. I can only hope you can see in my heart now and know that's not who I am today."

Read more: Sugababes Keisha Buchanan on 'trauma' of being group's only black member

Earlier this month Misha, 28, revealed in an Instagram live post that she has been in therapy for eight years due to her experiences on The X Factor which had also left her with post traumatic stress disorder. She alleged that the show was “scripted” to portray her as “overconfident because I’m black,” specifically through comments made by Tulisa and judge Louis Walsh.

Tulisa initially responded with a video post on Instagram, which she has now deleted, branding suggestions that her treatment of Misha B was “racially motivated” as "ludicrous".

A spokesperson for The X Factor said in a statement: “We are very concerned to hear Misha’s comments regarding her experience. We are currently looking into this matter. The welfare of contestants is our priority and we are committed to diversity and equality.”

Misha, real name Misha Bryan, was mentored by Destiny’s Child star Kelly Rowland when she appeared on the show aged 19 and finished in fourth place. Girlband Little Mix won the show that year, mentored by Tulisa.