Content warning: This article includes references to sexual assault


Lucy Spraggan has revealed that the reason she left the X Factor was not due to illness, but rather that she had been a victim of rape. In an interview for her upcoming memoir, Process, she told The Guardian that she was attacked by a porter in a hotel during the production of the reality contest. 

Lucy, who was just 20 years old when she was on the ITV show, reveals that the incident happened following a night of birthday celebrations for her fellow contestant Rylan Clark. The evening, which was full of free and unlimited drinks, was attended by the X Factor production team and crew, as well as journalists and paparazzi. “It was inappropriate for anybody – including contestants – to be drunk”, she stated. “How can you fulfil your duty of care when free alcohol is involved?” 

After passing out, Lucy was escorted back to the hotel by a member of the production team and a porter at the hotel. The porter then flipped the security latch that allowed him to enter later. However, when Rylan returned to the hotel he checked on Lucy, locking the door behind him. As a result, when the porter returned, he used a traceable keycard to enter her room. This ultimately allowed the porter to be caught and arrested. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.  

“I knew that I’d been raped, but I could not process that. So I put my clothes on and went into autopilot.” 

In her memoir, Lucy details the deeply upsetting time, revealing that she was not offered support or even checked on. “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.” 

She decided to leave the show due to the poor mental health she suffered from the incident, as well as the side effects of post-exposure prophylaxis (a drug that prevents HIV when taken within 72 hours of exposure).  

Although this event was reported on, Lucy’s right to anonymity meant that journalists could not refer to her by name, and so she was only described as a “television star”.  

Lucy states that she initially wanted to reveal the reason for her departure from the reality show. “At first I said, ‘Just tell them what happened.’ But I realised straight away that it wasn’t going to be so simple. I remember various people saying, ‘You have your whole career ahead of you and you can’t retract this.’” 

She is now bravely telling the world her story in her memoir, and we wholeheartedly support and commend her.  

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