15 June 2020

X Factor contestant Misha B accuses show of pushing ‘bullying’ narrative that left her traumatised

Former X Factor contestant Misha B has told how she was left traumatised after being accused of bullying on the show by judges Louis Walsh and Tulisa.

Misha, who was just 19 when she appeared in 2011, said she was left feeling ‘suicidal’ following allegations that she was mean to the other contestants, leading the press to nickname her ‘Misha Bully’.

She said on Instagram Live: “One of the girls, I think it might have been Jesy [Nelson], said, ‘You’ve been saying Leigh-Anne [Pinnock] has ‘evil eyes’ and you don’t think we’re gonna win and that you think we’re s*** singers’.

“And I was like, wow, first of all, let’s get this clear, I have no energy to be focusing on anybody else when I have so much at stake here. It is not in my character to want to tear another sista down.”

After this Misha says she experienced a ‘coldness’ on set from everyone, apart from judges Gary Barlow and Kelly Rowland. 

And following her performance that week on the talent show, she recalls feeling ‘bad vibes’ from Walsh and Tulisa.

She said: “Let me get just this very clear. These judges spent a maximum of one percent time with me and their contestants, apart from Gary [Barlow] and Kelly… So my understanding is you’ve created this whole narrative of me being overconfident because I’m black. 

"And in your eyes, black girls should not be confident. Black girls are just ‘one of’ – ‘You look like a young Tina Turner, you’re like a young Chaka Khan’. Why can I not just look like me? Why is it always you looking like someone else? Why is it always a comparison for black women?

"I know what it is here. I know exactly what it is here. And, you see, back in 2011 they got away with it. They got away with so much s***. “Feisty, [Tulisa] threw, followed by mean. Now I know that I am not the only one here that has heard those words. ‘Feisty’, ‘mean’. 

"These are like the common words that people use to describe black women. She then went on to say something along the lines of ‘seeing that some of the things that I say could come across as mean’. 

"Let me get one thing clear, this woman has spent zero time with me. The only conversation this woman had with me was after this all happened, when she gave me a very half-arsed apology. 

"Not the words ‘I’m sorry’, but ‘I never meant to do you no harm’. The damage is done, bruv. The damage is done.”

She then added she contemplated suicide due to her treatment on the show.

“We arrived back at the mansion and all I could think about was running away, just getting out of there. Because to me … people stood by and didn’t say anything, or a damn thing, when they knew it was wrong and they knew it was lies.”

"What I didn’t understand was that that experience, that trauma, had changed me as a person.

“It changed me. I didn’t trust anyone. Everyone asks me, ‘Misha, where have you been? What’s been going on?’ I’ve been battling. I’ve been healing. I’ve been working on self. I started therapy in 2012."

Gary Barlow supports Misha’s story in his 2018 autobiography, where he states that producers told him to fabricate drama during the live shows.

He wrote: “About half an hour before the show goes live, the producers would come in and they’d go, ‘Oh my God. That Misha. She’s a bully. Can’t believe it. 

“'She is such a bully. In fact, you know what? You should say it. You should say it on air. She’s bullied everyone all week’.”

Misha has been nominated for two MOBO awards since the X Factor and has released two EPs.

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