“To say I was shocked was an understatement."
Saira Khan has claimed that Loose Women bosses tried to make her join OnlyFans as a PR stunt, leading her to quit the show.
She was on the panel show between 2015 and 2020 before dramatically quitting.
Saira has now claimed that the “shocking” request was the final straw in an alleged string of desperate bids to get publicity for the ITV show as ratings declined.
In the wake of various scandals, Saira spoke about ITV culture, claiming:
- She would frequently go home crying over producers’ unreasonable requests.
- She was used as clickbait to help get the show recommissioned and bosses would “rub their hands with glee” at negative stories.
- She was offered no support when she became a target for trolls and threats to her family’s safety.
Saira said: “The straw that broke the camel’s back was when one of the young producers was sent running after me to ask whether I would be prepared to open an OnlyFans account.
“To say I was shocked was an understatement.
“I could see she herself was mortified to ask me.
“I replied, ‘You’re asking an Asian woman who has a husband and kids and comes from a Muslim family to open an OnlyFans account?’
“She said, ‘It’s just on your social media you’ve been posting images in your underwear and we thought if you could go undercover to see the kind of response you get from men, it would make a great story’.
“There and then, I knew my time was up on the show. I felt humiliated, angry, disappointed and like fodder.”
Saira Khan chose to speak out after Fearne Cotton decided to take a step back from TV and radio to preserve her mental health.
ITV has faced mounting pressure over the mental health of employees and speaking about the matter, Saira said:
“The system is toxic. They do not have people who have the expertise to introduce wellbeing and mental health care.”
She also revealed that she was asked to pose for a mould of her vagina.
Members of the Loose Women panel and production team contributed to a piece of artwork made up of plaster moulds of female genitalia to encourage women to accept their vaginas are “normal”.
Despite repeatedly refusing and saying she was uncomfortable, she allegedly continued to be harassed by producers.
“They just saw me as PR fodder with no respect for my background or culture.”
Saira Khan also complained that an underwear photo of herself was used in another campaign without her having approved it.
“I love TV presenting, but I knew that for the sake of my mental health and my family, I just could not carry on in such toxic working conditions.”
Saira said that the culture of Loose Women encouraged the presenters to argue which made her “into a b****y person I don’t want to be”.
Saira Khan added: “I started to realise they just wanted me to tick the box of ‘gobby Muslim woman’.”
Meanwhile, the makers of Loose Women have denied the claims.
A spokesperson for the show said:
“We strongly refute all of these claims. Duty of care is of paramount importance for all of our panellists. Saira left the panel almost two years ago and we wish her well.”