The 15th series of The Apprentice has not been without its controversies, with some questioning the show’s firing process after seven BAME candidates were let go in seven weeks.
But the most recently fired candidate, Ryan-Mark Parsons has now firmly denied that race, appearance or class were ever a factor in seeing candidates get fired.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous. I think those people are clutching at straws,” he told RadioTimes.com. “Lord Sugar doesn’t make a decision based on how you look or how you speak. If Lord Sugar was to have made a decision based on how I speak he would have fired me in week one. I don’t think that comes into it at all.
“They are trying to find a justification about why they were fired earlier than they may have believed. They were poor candidates – everyone who’s been fired, I’ve agreed with the decision that’s been made.
“They had no distinguishable features in that show, or any business acumen, and he saw that. And he fired them on that basis. When people make claims, they’re desperate.”
Ryan-Mark added he felt there were some candidates in the process that were “snowflakes”, who struggled with his straight-talking manner in or out the boardroom.
“I’m not going to be a Dean [Ahmad] or an Iasha [Masood] where I just sit back and don’t say anything and look like a plant. I’m going to voice how I feel and if that means clashing, then that’s absolutely fine,” he continued.
“My policy is to be open and transparent. I’m always going to let someone know how I feel. Some candidates love that – Thomas [Skinner], Lottie [Lion], Lewis [Ellis]. Some of the more snowflake candidates, Marianne [Rawlins], Dean, they struggled with that honesty.
“If they can’t take it, then you need to resign.”
There’s been more controversy outside the boardroom, after Lottie allegedly told fellow candidate Lubna Farhan “shut up Gandhi” in a Whatsapp group.
The BBC later condemned the remarks as “wholly unacceptable”, while production company Boundless told RadioTimes.com: “Appropriate action is being taken and that is a matter between the production company and individual concerned.”
Lottie has since denied any accusations of racism, writing on Twitter: “Do not believe everything you read online. Racism is unacceptable but so is false news. I won’t be entertaining this further.”
Ryan-Mark, who is still friends with Lottie, refused to comment on the remarks.
“We are good friends,” he said. “In terms of my personal relationship – we speak about horses, dinner, wine, Harrods – we have quite normal conversations about life.
“She’s quite thick-skinned and that’s what attracted me to her.”
The Apprentice continues Wednesdays at 9pm on BBC One