Tulisa blames socio-economic prejudice for Fake Sheikh drugs sting: 'Everything gets made worse because of the class thing'

'There are certain people of a different class that can get off very lightly in certain situations and it gets laughed off,' she said on Good Morning Britain

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The Independent Online

Tulisa Contostavlos has claimed that the media scrutiny she suffered after the Sun on Sunday article by Mazhir ‘Fake Sheikh’ Mahmood was made worse because of her socio-economic background.

The singer was charged with helping to supply the undercover Sun on Sunday reporter, who was posing as Bollywood producer Samir Khan, with £820 worth of cocaine. However, the trial collapsed on Monday (21 July) because Judge Alistair McCreath believed there were "strong grounds"to believe that Mahmood had "lied" at a pre-trial hearing.

"I’ve openly admitted to smoking weed," she told presenter Charlotte Hawkins during an interview on Good Morning Britain today (28 July).

"There are a lot of people in this industry that have dabbled in cocaine and I am one of the very few that haven’t and don’t. 

"To me it feels a bit of a class thing as well. There are certain people of a different class that can get off very lightly in certain situations and it gets laughed off.


"With me everything gets made to feel a lot worse - because of the class thing - because at times I do get shown as a bit of a rebel of the industry but I am actually quite the opposite."

The former N-Dubz star faced similar scorn when she appeared as a judge on The X Factor in 2011 and 2012.

Frequently branded a "chav", she was mocked by the tabloids for her dress sense and accent, and even became the subject of ridicule on the panel (fellow judge Gary Barlow famously cited her "fag ash breath" live on air).

Similarly, the drugs "sting" orchestrated by Mahmood, which saw the singer facing a trial by jury, had been heavily criticised for showing a particularly negative bias towards the singer because of her background.

Tulisa was brought up in a three-bedroom council house in Camden Town, north London, to an Irish mother and a Greek Cypriot father.

Thanks to financial support from her uncle and band manager, she enrolled into private education at Haverstock School at the age of 14 – the same school as Labour leader Ed Miliband attended.

"What is a chav? Supposedly someone from a council estate with a cockney accent," she told Company magazine during her first year on The X Factor in 2011. "That doesn't make you a bad person. I haven't got a problem with myself or the way I talk.

"I've been put down a lot in my life and that can either make you depressed, upset and introverted or you don't care anymore."

Elsewhere during her interview with Good Morning Britain, she discussed the suicidal feelings she struggled to overcome after she was officially charged.

"It just all got too much for me," she said. "I’m not going to sit here and want a pity party. It was a dark time, a very dark moment but I’ve got through it and I am here today."

Tulisa Contostavlos was the winning judge on The X-Factor in 2011 with her group Little Mix

"There are different levels of depression - when I got low, I got really, really low. But I picked myself up quicker than most and got on with things the best I could. My lowest point was when I found out I was going to be officially charged. It had already been dragging on for so long. When I found out I was being charged I lost the faith."

"It’s made me a paranoid wreck when it comes to people," she said on the trust issues she’s developed after being duped by Mahmood. "You are always looking over your shoulder - who is out to get me next.

"I have no idea what is going to happen - no idea how the public will feel about me coming back. I’ve been portrayed as a monster. I’m going to try and go back to what I love again."

Tulisa documented her life in the run-up to the collapsed trial with BBC 3 and is set to expose all about the ‘Fake Sheikh’ drugs sting in a tell-all programme this evening.

Tulisa: The Price of Fame, will be broadcast on Monday 28 July at 10pm.