The former Apprentice winner suing Lord Sugar for constructive dismissal was an “untrusting and suspicious person,” the millionaire business mogul has claimed.
Lord Sugar told an employment tribunal that he was surprised when Stella English, who triumphed on the BBC One show in 2010, told him she was not enjoying her £100,000 role in his company.
“I began to think that perhaps the reality of work rather than the glamour of showbusiness was beginning to bite with her,” he said. “Her time in the limelight was beginning to fade.”
Ms English, 34, told the tribunal today that she was informed in a meeting with Lord Sugar in September 2011 that he would not be keeping her on at his set-top box company YouView.
She claimed: "He said to me 'Look, if you think Lord Sugar is shitting himself and that's why you're here, that's where you're mistaken - I don't give a shit,’” she said. “’I've met my obligations to you. I did it for the BBC and the integrity of the show and a bit of my own PR and a bit of yours too. But the fact is that I don't give a shit.’
“At this point I thought we were living in the real world, not in a game show.”
But Lord Sugar said his former employee was fond of “odd conspiracy theories”.
“It was clear to me now that she thought that everyone was out to trick her,” he said. “She thought during the whole process that she was being lied to and that the other candidate has been chosen as the winner.” Ms English apparently confronted Lord Sugar after she believed rival contestant Chris Bates had won because she had not filmed a segment leaving his office in a chauffeur-driven car.
Ms English claimed yesterday that she felt like an “overpaid lackey” in a “sham” administrative position in her role at Viglen, her first job with Lord Sugar before she was transferred to YouView. Lord Sugar contended the idea she had told him this in person. “That bit is a complete reconstruction or better described as a figment of her imagination,” he said.
He also denied that Viglen chief executive Bordan Tkachuk replied: "Nice girl. Don't do a lot" when he asked what he thought of her during a meeting between them. “This is typical of her struggling to deal with the truth or facts,” he said.
Lord Sugar will continue to read his statement and give evidence at the tribunal tomorrow.