The Apprentice's Lottie Lion reveals sugar daddy shame and says BBC show ruined her life
27th February 2021

THE Apprentice’s Lottie Lion last night told how the BBC show ruined her life and led her to meet men on a sugar daddy website.

The 2019 series star, 21, lost her job in the pandemic and wanted to keep up her luxury lifestyle.

But her time on the site ended with her contacting police over “threats”.

Lottie signed up for Sugar Daddy dates to boost her chances of a rich fella to fund a luxury lifestyle.

Fighting back tears, she told The Sun: “I thought maybe being on there could buy me a bag or holiday.”

Controversial Lottie was just 19 when she became the 2019 series ­“villain” before Lord Sugar fired her.

Last year’s lockdown saw her lose her job, having previously split from a boyfriend in his mid-30s.

He had mentioned sugar daddy sites. And desperate to keep up her lavish life, Lottie signed up to website Seeking Arrangement.

She added: “It was a chance to meet people who were seeking to support young women. At first I was seeking business investment opportunities. It had failed with Lord Sugar.

“I don’t want an average life. I try to surround myself with go-getters. I spoke to great people on there.”

The site boasts: “Sugar Babies and Sugar Daddies or Mommas both get what they want, when they want it.”

In a video posted to a client the star said: “I’m Lottie. Can’t wait to see you.”

She added: “I’d been dating someone in his mid-30s. He took me on holidays. He ­mentioned he had used sugar babies in the past. We sort of had that ­relationship. He paid for everything.

“When that came to an end I didn’t have a nice lifestyle. I thought maybe being on the website could buy me a bag or holiday.

“It came to a point where dating during lockdown was difficult, and I wanted to meet people who are set up in life — more established and with contacts.

“Due to leaving home at such a young age I’m used to having to grow up quite quickly.

“I’m a little more settled than some women my age. I reach out to older men who are more advanced. I will benefit by association.

“I have never had a relationship with someone under 26, even when I was 18. The oldest I’ve dated is 39.

“I like mature men, with more life experience, and more success.”

But the sugar daddy experiment ended in disaster.

She added: “Since The Apprentice I was wary in case someone recognised me, and that is what has happened.

“I was approached by a man who seemed charming, very chatty and interested in getting to know me.

“After that, it’s so hard to talk about, suffice to say I won’t be on there any more. I’ve had threats, harassment and had to speak to police.”

Lottie blamed her spiralling life on her appearance as a 19-year-old on The Apprentice, where she had to impress Lord Sugar and “aides” Karren Brady and Claude Littner.

She wanted to be known as Charlotte but was forced to accept Lottie by producers.

And she is now calling for a minimum age of contestants of 21.

She said: “My name is Charlotte and has never been Lottie. The BBC wanted me to be ‘Lottie Lion the Librarian’.

“They loved all the L sounds, and that was it. I went along with it. They created this persona.

“I really wanted to go on the show, so agreed to it. Lottie Lion is catchy so I understand why.”

But being portrayed as a pantomime villain, plus after-show rows and social media trolls took their toll.

Lottie added: “We are in a nationwide mental health crisis, and I’m one of the people that have suffered.

“There were times when I didn’t want to have to bother any more, or carry on. A few months ago I deleted my social media because I needed a detox.

“Another Apprentice candidate contacted the BBC producers asking if I was OK. The producers contacted me way too late.

“I went back with a really s***** email, ‘I’m not going to be part of your box-ticking b*******, you know that I’m not OK’.

“They never responded. That just goes to show they don’t care.”

She added: “One of the producers admitted I was originally cast as the ‘quiet intellect’ but I ended up being the ‘controversial one’. Everyone has to fill a box for the entertainment levels.

“When Lord Sugar fired me he said if I was five years older it could work.

“My message to Lord Sugar is the minimum age must be raised to at least 21. I was too young.

“To get on the show I’d suggest you have to have a business, not just want fame.”

Lottie, who had a fling with co-star Lewis Ellis, became the most controversial contestant since Katie Hopkins.

She was spat on in the street and faced constant public abuse.

The BBC banned her from spin-offs You’re Fired and You’re Hired after contestants made complaints.

Lottie had told rival Lubna Farhan — of Pakistani heritage — to “Shut up, Gandhi” in a WhatsApp group.

Lottie was also accused of making negative comments about transgender women. She later apologised for calling Lord Sugar a racist and “offending anyone”.

She last worked as a business analyst in Bristol and said: “It is very difficult to find jobs. I’ve been applying, and trying to set up my own business.

“I have income as an influencer. I do ad-hoc consultancy. Otherwise I’m living off savings.

“It was all okay until lockdown hit. I’m a social butterfly. Not having a family has been really hard.

“I have support now, a good network. But you never know who is going to set you off.

“The other day a woman stopped me and just said ‘I couldn’t stand you on The Apprentice but you were entertaining’. It knocked me sideways. I know I wasn’t likeable. The way I was edited I didn’t like myself. It was a toxic thing to be humiliated on national TV.

“The BBC said they’d never had the level of exposure from a candidate I had, because of everything that happened.

“I’m trying to bury much of it. If by speaking out I can help others going through mental health issues then I’d be so pleased.”

An Apprentice spokesman said: “The wellbeing of candidates is of paramount importance.

“We have a robust duty of care protocol in place which includes an experienced network of support before, during and after filming.”

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