Lucy Spraggan says 'I was a corporate problem' after being raped

Lucy Spraggan says ‘I was a corporate problem’ as she details the aftermath of being raped during the X Factor and reveals Simon Cowell ‘was the only one who treated me like a human’

  • Information and support for anyone affected by rape or sexual abuse is available from Rape Crisis on 0808 500 2222. 

Lucy Spraggan has said she felt like a ‘corporate problem’ after she was raped during her time on The X Factor.

The singer was just 20 when she was scouted to take part in the ITV series in 2012. She became an overnight sensation, with her audition watched by millions on TV and online. 

But the singer-songwriter left the show abruptly after week three when she was raped by porter Soby Jon – who later pleaded guilty to the attack and was jailed. 

At the time Lucy departed the show, it was reported she had been ill. 

In a new interview on Elizabeth Day’s podcast How To Fail, Lucy says the aftercare she received from the show’s production company Freemantle and ITV ‘deflated any ounce of self worth that I had left.’

Speaking out: Lucy Spraggan has said she felt like a ‘corporate problem’ after she was raped during her time on The X Factor

Lucy, 31, has been speaking out after detailing her experience on the show in her new memoir, Process: Finding My Way Through. 

In the book, she describes how she was sexually assaulted after fellow contestant Rylan Clark’s 25th birthday party, where staff and singers were given ‘free alcohol’ – ultimately leading to Lucy falling unconscious. 

After being helped back to the hotel she was staying at, after being moved from another London hotel with 24 hour security, Lucy was raped by a porter.

In her new interview with Elizabeth Day, Lucy describes the response from The X Factor’s production team in the days following the assault. 

‘I was a corporate problem,’ she says. ‘We as contestants were corporate commodities from the beginning. In my opinion we were not treated well, we were so tired, we were drunk, we were stupid. We were controlled. We didn’t see our families.’

Breaking down in tears, she added ‘what makes me sad about that was how let down I was. I just feel sorry for myself. I wish I could have marched in and said “don’t worry we’re going to take you somewhere, you don’t have to worry about anything.”

‘There was, and still is I imagine, a huge failure in duty of care towards me, not just my physical self but my mental self.’

‘After the live final of X Factor 2012 I was not contacted again by ITV, by Freemantle or by Syco. I wasn’t offered ongoing mental health support, I wasn’t offered work. I wasn’t offered a secondary platform to kick start my little row boat off of and restart my life and my career. More important my life, because that destroyed it.’

Assault: Lucy was raped  after fellow contestant Rylan Clark’s 25th birthday party during the show. Rylan and Lucy pictured leaving filming studios during their 2012 stint on the X Factor

‘If the question is “who failed?” it’s clear to me the people who looked after me at that time failed me.’

She explained how she feels like ‘I have been in prison for a decade. Everytime somebody said “are you that girl off the X Factor?” My name, my face became synomous with The X Factor and those words to me were synomous with my sexual assault.’

‘I was plucked from the biggest moment of my life in the most traumatic fashion. I didn’t grieve for the opportunities that I lost.’

Lucy later recalled how shortly after X Factor presenter Caroline Flack took her own life in 2020, she wrote a letter to ITV, Fremantle, Simon Cowell and Sony telling them she was writing a memoir. 

‘I said “if you find me full of drugs, full of alcohol in a car, in a ditch and I’m dead that was not me”.

The reply she got from ITV opened with the words ‘we’re sorry that the experience that you had on X Factor was such an unhappy one.’

‘I felt like any ounce of worth that I had built they took a pin and stuck it in my side and deflated any ounce of self worth that I had left,’ she recalls of reading the reply. 

However a glimmer of light came from what she thought at the time was an unlikely source – Simon Cowell who called her after receiving her letter. 

‘I picked up the call ready to fight and he said “I’m sorry”. In that moment so much of my life changed, Lucy says.

‘The power of accountability from somebody…It stopped raining for the first time in a decade. I didn’t expect that from him.’

‘I joined the big army of contestants who said “we hate Simon Cowell”. He was the only one who treated me like a human being. He’s like family to me now, it’s so confusing to me because I see the human in him.’

‘When Simon asked me what I needed, I told him nothing, you just did it.’ 

Friends: Lucy has said X Factor boss Simon Cowell ‘was the only one who treated my like a human being’ after he apologised to her years after the assault  

Lucy says she is not interested in tearing anything or anyone down but wants to be ‘a changemaker’ and has advised reality TV shows to set up ‘a mental health pension funds’ for anyone involved in the production.

A spokesperson for ITV said: ‘We have the deepest compassion for Lucy and everything she has endured as a result of this horrific ordeal. We commend her resilience and bravery.

‘The X Factor was produced by Thames and Syco, who were primarily responsible for duty of care towards all of its programme contributors. 

‘ITV as a commissioning broadcaster is committed to having in place suitable and robust oversight procedures, with a view to ensuring that independent producers employ the correct processes to protect the mental health and welfare of participants.

‘We continue to evolve our own duty of care processes on programmes we produce to ensure that there are appropriate measures in place to support contributors before, during and after filming. In an event of such a distressing nature, welfare and support towards the victim would always be of the utmost priority.’

A spokesperson for the production company behind the show, Fremantle, added: ‘The serious sexual assault suffered by Lucy Spraggan in October 2012 was a truly horrific criminal act for which the perpetrator, who was not connected with the programme, was rightfully prosecuted and imprisoned. 

Fame: Lucy was scouted for the show at 20 and made it through the first three live shows before quitting abruptly

‘Anyone should feel safe when they are sleeping in a hotel room – and it is abhorrent to think that a hotel porter abused that trust in such a vile way.

‘To our knowledge, the assault was an event without precedent in the UK television industry. 

‘Whilst we believed throughout that we were doing our best to support Lucy in the aftermath of the ordeal, as Lucy thinks we could have done more, we must therefore recognise this. For everything Lucy has suffered, we are extremely sorry.

‘Since then, we have done our very best to learn lessons from these events and improve our aftercare processes.

‘Whilst we have worked hard to try and protect Lucy’s lifetime right to anonymity, we applaud her strength and bravery now that she has chosen to waive that right.’

Information and support for anyone affected by rape or sexual abuse is available from Rape Crisis on 0808 500 2222. 

Source: Read Full Article