BBC tells The Apprentice’s Lottie Lion WhatsApp comments “wholly unacceptable”

Lion, however, says her remarks were taken "out of context"

Lottie Lion The Apprentice (BBC)

The BBC has told The Apprentice’s Lottie Lion that comments she made towards a fellow candidate on a WhatsApp group were “wholly unacceptable”.

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The broadcaster launched an investigation after the 19-year-old businesswoman was accused of telling contestant Lubna Farhan to “shut up Ghandi” in the chat.

In a statement, the BBC said: “While this happened on a private messenger service once filming had concluded, the BBC nevertheless still expects the candidates to behave appropriately.

“The production company have looked into the issue and reported back. Lottie has been informed that her comments were wholly unacceptable and is in no doubt about our view on this.”

Lion previously told the PA her comments were “taken out of context”.

“It is not true that I would ever be racist,” Lion said. “My use of the word Gandhi was misinterpreted, it was as candidates in the group chat had been quoting Gandhi previously.

“The comments were taken out of context, and I ask the public not to make judgement without knowing the full context.”

Speaking to RadioTimes.com after her firing, Farhan denied the comments were taken out of context. “I’m not going to sit here and lie and say the reports were wrong,” she said.

A spokesperson for the show previously told us: “We are currently looking into the circumstances regarding a complaint.”

In response to the investigation, Lion added: “I categorically deny being a racist, homophobic or transphobic. I have no further comment.”

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The Apprentice continues 9pm Wednesday, BBC1