Lucy was a contestant on X Factor’s ninth series back in 2012, becoming a fan-favourite thanks to her original compositions which she performed in the early stages of the competition.
However, she bowed out early halfway through live shows, due to what was originally put down to ill health.
A decade on, Lucy was spoken for the first time about being raped by a hotel porter during the series, which she said was the reason for her early X Factor exit.
Speaking to The Guardian, Lucy disclosed that the incident took place after a birthday party for fellow contestant Rylan Clark, which was attended by a number of contestants as well as X Factor crew members.
The singer told the newspaper: “It was inappropriate for anybody – including contestants – to be drunk. How can you fulfill your duty of care when free alcohol is involved?”
Lucy explained that after “passing out” at the party, she was helped back to her hotel by a crew member, where a hotel porter then offered to escort her to her room.
The hotel porter then flipped the security latch on her door to prevent it locking behind them, but Rylan later called in to check on Lucy and locked the door behind him, meaning when the porter returned, he had to use a traceable key card to get in.
Lucy recalled: “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.”
After confiding in Rylan – with whom she remains close friends – Lucy then told production about the incident, and an arrest was made, although she claims the show was “unprepared” to deal with something so serious.
She also shared that the side effects of the HIV prevention drug PEP meant she was too unwell to return to the X Factor.
While she initially chose to keep the reason behind her departure out of the spotlight, Lucy told The Guardian she has chosen to speak about it now “in order for me to rebuild myself and move on”.
X Factor production company Fremantle told The Guardian: “While 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.”
A spokesperson for ITV also said: “The X Factor was produced by Thames and Syco, who were responsible for duty of care towards all of its programme contributors.
“ITV is committed to having in place suitable and robust processes to protect the mental health and welfare of programme participants, and we have continued to evolve and strengthen our approach.”
Meanwhile, former X Factor judge Simon Cowell described Lucy’s story as “horrific and heartbreaking”.
“When I was given the opportunity to speak to Lucy, I was able to personally tell her how sorry I was about everything she has been through,” he said.
“Although we met under tragic circumstances, a genuine friendship and a mutual respect has developed between us. Lucy is one of the most authentic, talented and brave people I have ever met. I have always supported her wish to tell her story as well as her efforts to bring about positive change.”
Read Lucy Spraggan’s interview in full here.
Help and support:
- Victim Support - Visit victimsupport.org.uk or call 0808 168 9111 Sexual Abuse Referral Centres - Find a SARC
- Rape Crisis - Visit rapecrisis.org.uk or call 0808 802 9999 The Rape and Abuse Line - Visit rapeandabuseline.co.uk or call 0808 800 0123 (answered by women) or 0808 800 0122 (answered by men).