Apprentice Star Reveals Troll Torment After Karren Brady ‘Sexism’ Clash

Siobhan Smith, who became the latest boardroom casualty, was harassed online.

Siobhan Smith Image BBC

Apprentice contestant Siobhan Smith has revealed how she was the subject of vile abuse from online trolls following her infamous clash with Karren Brady in Week One of the show.

Smith, who became the fourth casualty of the boardroom, also insisted the incident was heavily edited and she remains a staunch feminist.

Brady made headlines on the show after appearing to shut down a potentially ‘sexist’ remark made by Smith, where she appeared to suggest the more attractive members of the team should be deployed to sell burgers in Canary Wharf.

“It did upset me how I came across,” Smith told loaded. “I probably shouldn’t have backtracked and should have just explained that it was a strategic decision to win the task and left it there. But I tried to backtrack and it all got out of hand.

“I need to highlight that I am the biggest feminist ever. I worked as an FX Trader for 15 years and know how hard it is for women in the world.”

Elizabeth, Siobhan and Joanna.
Elizabeth, Siobhan and Joanna. The three in the firing line.

Things have been tough for Smith since that first episode aired, with several people taking to social media to hit out at the Apprentice contestant.

“It hasn’t been nice since because I’ve been the target of a lot of trolling and had some unpleasant things happen to me since that for daring to say anything.”

“It was tough but it was it is. I was only upset because I am a feminist and anyone who knows or works with me knows that. Some people just want to take things the wrong way and be nasty. I’ve had trolling ever since then and it’s not been nice.”

The ‘Sexist’ Remark Revisited

The original incident took place during a discussion on who would be best deployed in Canary Wharf.

During the debate, Smith offered up the following: “Our customers in Canary Wharf are going to be male-dominated, so that’s something to take into consideration when you choose who you want to be selling the burgers. So it’s got to be attractive to him as well to want to buy it.”

Brady was quick to respond: “What do you mean about attractive?”

Karren Brady and the scowl of disapproval.
Karren Brady The scowl of disapproval.

“We have to think… you know…they have to be good at selling…and they also have to be good…because they have to be good to sell to men. If you see what I’m saying?” Smith replied. “No I don’t see what you’re saying. What are you saying?” Brady said.

Smith tried to explain: “I’m just saying if you’re shy at dealing with men on a day-to-day basis well it’s going to be a problem.” “None of you strike me as shy” Brady fired back, ending the discussion and prompting several minutes of awkward silence.

No Regrets

Despite the incident, Smith has few regrets from her time on the show. “I stayed true to myself. I’m a direct person but I’m an honest person. I stab from the front, not the back. If I have a problem with you I will say it to my face.”

Heading up Graphene in a task that saw the teams running their very own corporate events from a box at Wembley Stadium, Smith may also feel a little hard done by. While rivals Vitality made a larger profit, Graphene undoubtedly put on the more polished event. Ultimately, Vitality cut corners and gambled on no one present asking for a refund – they lucked out too.

Smith, who works as a wedding planner, was left baffled Lord Sugar’s profits-over-quality approach to the judging of the task. “Where does it stop? To win a task do you just offer a crap service just to win? It should be about being professional and giving a good service.

“I didn’t really do a bad job. I just bought a couple of bottles too many of wine, which in normal life you would do buy back. It was a hard way to go. I probably took it too seriously and didn’t play the game but I’m not making excuses.”

“Lord Sugar was more focused on the money which makes me think I probably wasn’t right for him. He kept saying it was a profit task. A task like that should be partly based on professionalism too. In the boardroom, I kind of gave up. I’m not one for sitting there and saying I am the best. I like to show it through my work. It’s about integrity and doing a good job and being told I am doing a good job. It’s not just about making money. If you screw the client over, you aren’t going to get repeat business.”

Lack Of Support

Smith still feels like some people on her team could have done more to support her as project manager and that the close living quarters all the contestants experienced in the house made it awkward when arguments erupted.

“Everybody just wanted to cover their arse on this task – or they wanted me gone.”

“I never got personal about people and that upset me when some people did,” she said. “But we would sometimes have these massive arguments and then you can’t escape that person because you have to go back to the house and sleep in the same room as them.”

Smith is now focusing on expanding her VIP wedding planning business in Dubai and on developing a travel and lifestyle blog.

The Apprentice continues next Wednesday.

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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.