“I was actually really attacked for the name Yogita"
Shazia Hussain, a contestant on the current series of The Apprentice, has claimed she was verbally attacked off-camera by her fellow candidates.
She said she felt bullied by them and was left feeling “unsafe” in the house.
The technology recruiter made a complaint to the BBC following a task where the candidates had to create a preschool cartoon aimed at two to four-year-olds.
Shazia said she came up with the idea of an Indian giraffe called Yogita which she claims led to her being bullied.
In a now-deleted TikTok video, Shazia claimed:
“I was actually really attacked for the name Yogita, which I can confirm happened really severely off camera.
“But the footage that they did capture on camera didn’t make it into the edit because I think that the viewers would have found it really disturbing because at the end of the day, we’re just trying to make a little cartoon character about an Indian giraffe.
“In all seriousness, in all of my career, I’ve never ever felt as bad as I felt when they removed me off that pitch because my experience, in reality, would have been an asset on that pitch and because I was so passionate about Yogita.”
Shazia said she champions diverse women in business. But she questioned whether the other candidates understood diversity in the same way.
She continued: “Also, I’m an Asian female and we’re talking about representation and after that task I did actually have to report it (the bullying was logged) in all seriousness, I actually felt unsafe in that house living with that level of animosity that was directed at me.
“Which begs the question, did that team actually understand what diversity and inclusion is and do they even now understand what diversity and inclusion is?
“Or do they seriously still think that Yogita is vile, horrible, toxic and awful?”
“Also, in the boardroom, it was stated that the panel of experts absolutely loved the name Yogita and it was one of the main reasons why we did win that task.
“And also, one of the things that I found really interesting was that we actually all agreed to an animal collectively and we all came up with that idea but it was seen as though it was just, you know, like quite a singular effort.
“But with regards to the name, that was my idea and that was what made the cartoon unique and without it there would have actually not been much diversity inclusion.
“I really hope that they’ve all learnt something from when a DNI specialist was called to the house to speak to them about their understanding of what DNI is and also to remind them about what bullying is as well.”
A BBC spokesperson said: “As soon as Shazia raised a concern an investigation was conducted and she received in-person support from senior members of the production team.
“The Apprentice has a strict code of conduct, we take all complaints very seriously and investigate when needed.
“As a result, when action is required, we take it.
“We are committed to creating an inclusive environment. Duty of care to all our candidates is our highest priority.”