Influencer Molly-Mae Hague has been struck with an intense backlash for comments she made about poverty and social mobility.
The former Love Island star, now creative director for fashion brand Pretty Little Thing, has been called a "steaming hypocrite" and "tone deaf" after an interview clip went viral over the past couple of days.
On Steven Bartlett's The Diary of a CEO podcast, 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.
"When I’ve spoken about that before in the past I’ve been slammed a little bit, with people saying, ‘It’s easy for you to say that, you’ve not grown up in poverty, you’ve not grown up with major money struggles. So for you to sit there and say we all have the same 24 hours in a day is not correct.’
"And I’m like, but technically what I’m saying is correct – we do."
She continued: "So I understand we all have different backgrounds and we’re raised in different ways and have different financial situations, but I think 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.” She added: "And I’ll go to any length. I’ve worked my absolute arse off to get where I am now."
Video footage of the interview was initially released in December, but a snippet was shared by a Twitter user on Wednesday. Reposted almost 23,000 times since, the clip has brought detractors out in full force.
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One user commented: "We may all have 24 hours in a day, but for some those 24 hours include illness that prevents them from reaching goals, some have issues affording childcare, they're just two examples.
"This is tone deaf, some people work so hard just to be able to survive with bare minimum."
"This woman has no idea about the reality of life for many people. Or that 'working my absolute arse off' doesn't always equate a fancy house and financial security," another said.Others referred to the widespread allegations that workers making clothes for Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing's owner, were being paid far below minimum wage.
Last year Boohoo management said it was "shocked and appalled" by the allegations made and said it was committed to rebuilding the reputation of the textile manufacturing industry at factories it uses in Leicester.
Hague also experienced social media backlash last year after accepting the job as Pretty Little Thing's creative director - critics accused her of promoting exploitation and fast fashion.
Small business minister Paul Scully told LBC he thought Hague's comments this time around were fair, but added, "I think you've got to define success...I think an inspirational approach to life is no back thing, but we've got to make sure opportunity is equally distributed around the country".
According to company accounts published on August 2020, Hague's company MMH Holdings had assets of almost £560,000.
She became one of the UK's most recognisable influencers after appearing on Love Island in 2019.
Hague's representatives said in a statement: "This part of the interview was discussing time efficiency relating to success. Molly refers to a quote which says 'We all have the same 24 hours in a day as Beyonce'. She was discussing her own experience and how she can resonate with this specific quote. Her opinion on if you want something enough you can work hard to achieve it is how she keeps determined with her own work to achieve more in her own life."
The statement added that Molly was not commenting on anyone else’s life or personal situation.
"She acknowledges that everyone is raised in different ways and from different backgrounds but her comments here are in reference to timing, hard work and determination in her own life," it continued.
"If you listen to this interview you can see the whole conversation was about her own personal circumstances, how she has grown up and this small clip in the conversation was talking about a quote that inspires her.
"Social media users have shared a short snippet from this interview with words such as “if you are homeless buy a house” and “if you are poor be poor” these are absolutely not Molly’s words, these are not Molly’s thoughts and this isn’t at all the meaning or thought behind that conversation.”