Tulisa responds to Misha B X Factor racism claims: ‘I don’t have a racist bone in my body’

Former judge denied the singer's claim that her behaviour was racially motivated, but admitted she could have handled the situation more delicately

Roisin O'Connor
Tuesday 16 June 2020 11:25 BST
Misha B slams 'scripted' interaction with Tulisa on 2011 X Factor

Singer Tulisa Contostavlos has apologised for the way she treated contestant Misha B during the show, but denied allegations of racism.

The former judge responded to an Instagram post by Misha, who described how producers forced an “angry black girl” narrative on her during the eighth series in 2011.

The 28-year-old said the experience left her with suicidal thoughts, and that she was diagnosed with PTSD after the show.

“They saw an opportunity to tear down a black girl that came from a broken home and worked together to assassinate my character and to sabotage my career by orchestrating lies,” she said.

She added: “I know that I’m not the only one who has heard those words – feisty, mean… These are common words people use to describe black women.”

Contostavlos, who was mentoring eventual winners Little Mix, told Misha during the competition: “You being so feisty can come across quite mean.”

In a new Instagram video, Tulisa said she regretted “calling [Misha] out publicly like I did”. However, she called allegations that her comments were racially motivated “ludicrous”.

While she insisted that Misha “made two of my acts cry” and defended her right to “call out” bad behaviour, Contostavlos admitted she could have dealt with the situation more delicately.

“If I was the person I am today, who is more emotionally intelligent, who has more life experience, I would have handled it in a very different way,” she said. “I didn’t think of emotional consequences. And that I am truly sorry for and I deeply regret.”

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However, she dismissed claims that her actions had anything to do with race.

“I didn’t wake up and go, ‘I want to cause some drama for Misha B because of the colour of her skin,’” Tulisa said. “She did some things that I felt I needed to pull her up on. But please believe me when I tell you I do not have a racist bone in my body.”

“I owe my life to black people and to black culture,” the former N-Dubz singer added. “From my career to the music I make, to my very being – who I am as a person.”

Contostavlos went on to voice her support for the Black Lives Matter movement, saying: “I hope that this movement can put an end to the centuries of oppression, abuse, racism and the corrupt system we are a part of. ”

A spokesperson for The X Factor said the show was “very concerned to hear Misha’s comments regarding her experience on The X Factor in 2011”.

“We are currently looking into this matter and are reaching out to Misha to discuss the important issues she has raised. The welfare of contestants is our priority and we are committed to diversity and equality,” they said.

To talk about anything that is upsetting you, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone) or email jo@samaritans.org. You can also call the Welsh Language Line on 0300 123 3011 (7pm–11pm every day).

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