Tulisa Contostavlos has issued a new statement responding to Misha B’s video about her experience on The X Factor, acknowledging the pain she caused the former contestant.
The former N-Dubz singer and fellow judge Louis Walsh had accused Misha of ‘bullying’ live on the ITV talent show in 2011, with Tulisa using the words “feisty” and “mean” in relation to the singer.
Earlier this month, Misha filmed an Instagram live video about her time on the show, where she addressed the incident and how she’d suffered from PTSD in the years that followed.
Tulisa initially released her own video in response, insisting her comments were not “racially motivated”.
However, she has now said she’d initially “jumped to defence mode” and has issued an apology to Misha.
Having deleted the video from Instagram, Tulisa wrote: “I can see clearly that a Black female was and 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.”
She continued: “I fully acknowledge the pain I caused and 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,” Tulisa said.
“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 then gave her version of events as to what had made her confront Misha live on air, claiming “someone younger than both of us” had come to her upset about something Misha had allegedly said.
Saying she felt she had to “call her out”, Tulisa continued: “I have to protect, I have to be a protector, attacking it head on is the only way to make it stop.”
Admitting it was the wrong thing to do, Tulisa said she “didn’t stop to think of the consequences” for Misha, who was just 19 at the time.
“I was 22, I didn’t have any guidance and I’d been given the most powerful platform in the industry at the time,” she said.
“I had a huge responsibility that I clearly wasn’t ready for in those circumstances. If I could go back in time I would have pulled myself aisde, 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.”
She continued: “You have every right to be angry and speak your truth and how it made you feel. I do however feel you left out what our specific issue was about and left my intentions a lot more open to interpretation. I was most definitely acting on impulse and was not aware of, nor a part of, any agendas that could have been at play.”
Tulisa then addressed comments made by fellow judge Gary Barlow in his 2018 autobiography, in which he claimed producers had deliberately stirred up drama with Misha for the tabloid press.
“I can confirm Gary and I had separate producers assigned to us so I can’t speak for his experience, only my own,” she wrote.
Gary had previously said: “About half an hour before the show goes live, the producers would come in and they’d go ‘Oh my god. That Misha. She’s such 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 just bullied everyone all week’.”
Tulisa concluded her post by admitting it had been a “mistake” not to reach out to Misha before.
“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,” she said.
“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.
“I hope moving forward you get all the success and love that you deserve being the incredible talent you are. I hope you get past all the pain and hurt to happier times.”
In her video, Misha had spoken of how she was still having therapy, having been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
She said: “What I didn’t understand was that that experience, that trauma, had changed me as a person. It changed me. I didn’t trust anyone. Everyone asks me, ‘Misha, where have you been? What’s been going on?’ I’ve been battling. I’ve been healing. I’ve been working on self.
“I started therapy in 2012. I’m still having therapy now. Shout out to all my therapists, you’re the greatest, honestly. If it wasn’t for your patience, kindness, understanding and your services... life would be very different right now. You’d be looking at a different Misha B right now.”
In response to Misha’s video, an X Factor spokesperson previously said: “We are very concerned to hear Misha’s comments regarding her experience on The X Factor in 2011. We are currently looking into this matter and are reaching out to Misha to discuss the important issues she has raised. The welfare of contestants is our priority and we are committed to diversity and equality.”
HuffPost UK also contacted a representative for Louis Walsh after Misha’s video, who declined to comment.
Useful websites and helplines
Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.
Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.