Former X Factor contestant Lucy Spraggan has revealed she was raped by a hotel porter while competing on the ITV talent show in 2012.
The singer, 31, who was born in Canterbury in Kent said the attack took place after a night out celebrating fellow contestant Rylan Clark’s birthday at a Mayfair nightclub, which was attended by members of the X Factor production team.
She told the Guardian she felt let down by ITV: “It was inappropriate for anybody – including contestants – to be drunk.
“How can you fulfil your duty of care when free alcohol is involved?”
Detailing the rape in her new memoir, Process: Finding My Way Through, the singer – who was 20 at the time – said she fell unconscious and was escorted back to the hotel by a member of the production team, where a porter offered to help get her to her room.
However, he later used a “traceable keycard” to enter the room and attack her, she said.
“I woke up the next day with this sense of sheer dread. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that level of confusion since.
“I knew that I’d been raped, but I could not process that. So I put my clothes on and went into autopilot.”
Although the production team called the police and an arrest was quickly made, Spraggan said she believed they were “unprepared” to deal with what had happened.
She received both financial and medical support in the immediate aftermath, but said she was not given any support after her attacker was convicted.
Writing in her memoir, Spraggan said: “No one ever contacted me to ask if I was OK.
“No one called or emailed when the trial was over and he was convicted. No one offered me rehabilitation or ongoing mental health treatment. I was on my own.”
Spraggan left The X Factor, which was won that year by James Arthur, during the live shows citing illness, but has now revealed a side effect of a drug used to prevent HIV made her too unwell to continue in the days after the assault.
She said she wanted to make public the reason for her exit at the time but was told it might affect her future career.
Spraggan said she was speaking out now because “in order for me to rebuild myself and move on, I needed to tell the truth”.
She went on to have two top-10 albums in the UK charts with Join The Club reaching seven in 2013 and Choices peaking at five in 2021.
Posting a message on social media a week before the memoir is published, Spraggan described it as “the beginning of a new era” which she felt was “very freeing”.
She added: “As some of the experiences I’m about to share are some of my most vulnerable, I have been so aware that I need to protect my mental health and my head space.
“It’s for that reason I’ll be taking a break from social media.”
A statement from 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.
“We have evolved and improved these oversight procedures since the events in question and we are encouraged to hear that Thames recognises the importance of continuous review and improvement of their own processes.
“We continue to evolve our own duty of care processes on programmes we produce to ensure that there are appropriate measures in place to support contributors before, during and after filming.
“In an event of such a distressing nature, welfare and support towards the victim would always be of the utmost priority.”
A spokesperson for Fremantle, the British TV company that produced The X Factor for ITV under its Thames TV entertainment arm, said: “The serious sexual assault suffered by Lucy Spraggan in October 2012 was a truly horrific criminal act for which the perpetrator, who was not connected with the programme, was rightfully prosecuted and imprisoned.
“Anyone should feel safe when they are sleeping in a hotel room – and it is abhorrent to think that a hotel porter abused that trust in such a vile way.
“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. Since then, we have done our very best to learn lessons from these events and improve our aftercare processes.
“Whilst we have worked hard to try and protect Lucy’s lifetime right to anonymity, we applaud her strength and bravery now that she has chosen to waive that right.”
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