Lucy Spraggan sobbed as she recalled Simon Cowell’s sympathy for her after she was raped while competing on The X Factor, adding that he was the first person to tell her, ‘Sorry.’
In 2012, the singer rose to stardom on the singing competition, blowing the audience away with her own song Last Night at her first audition and becoming a fan favourite to win.
She withdrew a few weeks into the live concerts, revealing in her book Process that she departed after being assaulted by a hotel staff.
In a new interview with BBC Breakfast, the now-31-year-old has shared details of what happened and the aftermath, explaining that she can’t remember what happened on the night she was raped and has ‘pieced together’ bits of information from police and other witnesses.
The musician outlined that she and her fellow contestant Rylan Clark were perceived as ‘party animals’ and were moved into a different hotel to the other competitors, as she admitted that she wondered if they were moved ‘because that supported the narrative’, having stated that on The X Factor, it’s ‘like a storyline is written for you’.
When they were moved to the other hotel, Lucy claimed that they were ‘not given security’.
‘We were moved the same night that it was Rylan’s birthday party. I don’t remember anything, so this story that I’m telling you now has been pieced together through information from the police, from what people remember at the time. But I was not conscious when I arrived at the hotel,’ she told the BBC.
‘The hotel porter that had offered his help to get me up to bed got a key card, let himself into my room and raped me while I was in my hotel room.’
The hotel porter pled guilty and was sentenced to ten years in prison in 2013.
Lucy described being raped on a Thursday night before the Saturday night X Factor show, and being moved in another hotel room the next day, when she had to ‘peel herself away from jumping off the balcony’.
The singer confessed that she expected Simon’s media entertainment firm, Syco, to be “the most forceful” about what happened to her.
‘[They] said, “Simon wants to talk to you.” And he called me, and I picked up the phone. And he said, “Lucy, before you or I say anything else, the first thing I need to tell you is that I’m sorry.” It makes me emotional now,’ she recalled, breaking down in tears.
‘‘Cause no one else said sorry. He wasn’t even on my year, he wasn’t even a judge. And he still as a human being gave me everything that I needed in two words.’
Lucy is now working to transform the business by ensuring that a part of the gross budget for programming goes towards mental health care, while also explaining how much of a difference being sober has made in her life.
In a statement about Lucy’s horrific ordeal, 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.’
Fremantle, the company that produces The X Factor, added: ‘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.’
Victim Support offers support to survivors of rape and sexual abuse. You can contact them on 0333 300 6389.