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Dragon’s Den star Steven Bartlett defends Molly Mae over comments made on his podcast

Dragon’s Den star Steven Bartlett defends Molly Mae over comments made on his podcast
‘I’ve had male guests say what she said. No one cared,’ Bartlett claimed

Podcast host Steven Bartlett has defended Molly Mae Hague amid backlash the Love Island star is receiving for comments she made about wealth inequality and poverty.

Hague – who was a former contestant on the hit ITV2 reality dating show – made the remarks during an appearance on Bartlett’s YouTube series The Diary of a CEO.

In the clip, which has circulated widely on social media, Hague said: “I just think you’re given one life and it’s down to you what you do with it. You can literally go in any direction.”

The 22-year-old continued: “I understand we all have different backgrounds and we’re raised in different ways and have different financial situations, but if you want something enough you can achieve it and it just depends to what lengths you want to go to get to where you want to be in the future.”

After the clip went viral, the reality star – who has gone on to become a creative director of fashion brand Pretty Little Thing – was criticised as “out of touch” and “tone deaf”.

On Friday (7 January), Bartlett – who has replaced Tej Lalvani on Dragon’s Den – defended Hague in a Twitter post, suggesting that she had been “crucified” over the remarks because she is a woman.

“Molly Mae did an interview on my podcast, yesterday a soundbite from that interview went viral, she trended No.1 on Twitter, every newspaper covered it and MP’s weighed in,” wrote Bartlett.

“I’ve had male guests say what she said. No one cared. But when Molly says it, she’s crucified? Crazy.”

He continued: “I’ve become very aware of the double standard that successful women face. If I interview a man, he can brag about money, take full credits for his success and talk about his cars.

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“If I interview a successful woman, she’s got to tip toe around her success and watch her words?”

Bartlett concluded: “Gender issues aside, the standard we hold Molly Mae to as a 22-year-old that’s figuring out the world is absolutely outrageous.

“She once said she didn’t like Italian food, it trended No.1 all day, was written about in every newspaper and she had to issue a public apology. 22.”

In October 2020, Hague issued an apology for causing offence after describing Italian food as “grim”.

“It’s meant to be the home of pizza and pasta and I really can’t see how! Strange. Even this ice cream was grim,” she wrote on Instagram.

People, however, have criticised Bartlett for his defence of Hague, calling it “dishonest”.

One response, which has received nearly 1,000 likes, reads: “I don’t expect you to contribute to the critique of your guest but sorry this [is] just so dishonest. You know exactly why she was criticised.

“You know she’s most likely more prominent on social media than other guests and you yourself said she was highly requested.

“What’s also annoying is you ALSO had Grace Beverly on your podcast. She created a brand at a young age and had no problem accepting she had worked hard but was also very privileged. Molly Mae did not do that.”

Hague’s Love Island co-star Maura Higgins has called out another star of the reality series, Shaughna Phillips, for wading into the debate.