Latest candidate fired from The Apprentice addresses Lottie Lion racism row

Kenna Ngoma said he recognised the 19-year-old librarian was ‘difficult’ during off-air interviews for the show.

Press Association
Last updated: 10 October 2019 - 12.11am

The latest candidate to be fired from The Apprentice has said he knew fellow contestant Lottie Lion was “difficult” even before filming began.

Lion, 19, became the centre of a racism row last week after referring to fellow contestant Lubna Farhan, of Asian heritage, by the name “Gandhi” in a WhatsApp group chat.

Ice cream business owner Kenna Ngoma, from Greater Manchester, auditioned in the same group as Lion, who was last week forced to deny she was racist.

The Apprentice 2019
Kenna Ngoma (BBC/PA)

It is reported that Lion told her on-screen rival to “Shut up, Gandhi” in the chat.

Ngoma, 24, told the PA news agency after being eliminated from the show: “She’s a character. That’s the way she was even around the house, where she was quite attention-on-me.

“You just have to find a way of managing her or getting used to it, essentially, because she is someone who is not going to change her personality. You always have to adapt to her.

“During the interview stages to get on (The Apprentice) she was in my group and I know how difficult she is.

“And especially after today’s episode and the first one I think quite a lot of people now know how difficult she is.”

The contestants of The Apprentice (BBC/PA)

Potential contestants are interviewed in groups off-air before being selected for the on-air challenges.

Lion has denied this use of the name, a reference to Indian independence leader Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi, was racist.

Ngoma added that he did not see Lion make any racist comments on the show, which has finished filming.

He added: “I didn’t have any involvement in that at all.”

He became the second candidate to exit the BBC One programme on Wednesday night, after failing to deliver as project manager and create up-market ice lollies.

With the group once again split by gender, the teams went about creating a range of ice cream products, with the girls opting for retro ice lollies and the boys targeting the health food market.

But after prioritising healthy profit margins over flavour, the boys ended up with a low-quality product that failed to sell.

Ngoma faced Lord Sugar and his aides Baroness Karren Brady and Claude Littner in the boardroom.

As project manager, he decided to bring luxury womenswear consultant Ryan-Mark Parsons, 19, and sports management agency owner, Dean Ahmad, 20, back in with him.

But ultimately Lord Sugar laid the blame on him.

Lord Sugar dubbed him “the wally with the lolly” and criticised him for making a “cheap” product before eliminating him from the show, saying: “You’re fired.”

This year’s series sees the contestants – including a para athlete, a beauty brand owner, an artisan baker, a librarian and a luxury womenswear consultant – compete for a £250,000 investment in their business.

The Apprentice continues on Wednesdays at 9pm on BBC One, followed by You’re Fired on BBC Two.

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