I was The Apprentice’s most trolled star – even Lord Sugar joined in with savage jibes online when he watched me on task | The Sun

LAUGHING at candidates blundering their way through tough tasks is all part of the fun when watching The Apprentice.

But Lewis Ellis was stunned when Lord Sugar himself got involved, trolling him over his tattoos after he took part in the BBC show in 2019.

In an exclusive interview, the 31-year-old marketing business owner has revealed how he realised the phrase, “Never meet your heroes,” was true after appearing on The Apprentice.

Lewis also claims the “unhealthy” and “stressful” nature of the show led to his hair falling out, and explains why the sex ban put in place by producers never works.

'What are you? A Kindle?'

Lord Sugar’s cutting comments came when Lewis was seen stripping off for an advert to promote Finland as part of a task on The Apprentice, showing off his heavily-tattooed body.

Taking to Twitter as the show aired, the 75-year-old wrote: “Lewis your tattoos are horrific. Tell me where I am missing the point. What does he look like?"

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A shocked Lewis hit back by sharing a topless picture of himself on Twitter, writing: “F*** what other people think about you! Thank you to everyone who took some time to show support for my ‘horrific’ tattoos and pointing out no one has the right to judge you or your body.”

Lord Sugar retweeted him, and replied: “Lewis, your tattoos tell your story. What are you? A Kindle?

“You have the right to do what you want to your body. I have the right of an opinion. I say they are horrible.

“When your 50 on the beach you’ll wear a T-shirt. You will be an embarrassment to your kids.”

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'Don't meet your heroes'

Lord Sugar's online tirade came as an episode aired showing Lewis stripping off for a task in FinlandCredit: BBC
Lewis eventually got an inking of Lord Sugar on his armCredit: Twitter

Lewis – who made it to the final five in his series of The Apprentice – confessed Lord Sugar’s comments were the hardest part of his whole experience.

Trolls told him he should be "ashamed of himself" and that "tattoos are disgusting", MailOnline reported.

However, others leapt to his defence and accused critics of "bodyshaming" him.

He tells us: “I was prepared to be made fun of on the show, and I was watching it like a person watching the show, laughing at myself, laughing at what we were doing. 

“The only bit I didn't expect was Lord Sugar to start joining in, taking pop shots at you. 

“Throughout the entire process, we were looking up to him and we saw him as a business idol, someone we wanted to be like. They always say 'don't meet your heroes'. 

“I signed up for the public to take the p*** out of me, I signed up knowing I'd get criticism, I didn't sign up for the criticism to come from within the TV show itself. 

“I thought that was a bit snide.”

He adds: “It'd be fine if it was something to do with the show, but it wasn't. It was more about 'Oh, look at him. He looks hanging.’” 

“You didn't expect that from him, because we put months of work into this.”

After his disagreement with Lord Sugar, Lewis got a tattoo of the business owner holding a gun on his arm.

“It's just a weird thing now,” Lewis laughs. “It's four years later and I've got a weird, old guy on my arm.”

Stress of show

Many Apprentice candidates – like Michaela Wain – have opened up before about the lack of sleep that comes from the process, and the fact each task is filmed over three jam-packed days.

But alopecia-sufferer Lewis – who is just about to launch a second business, a travel company – claims the lack of sleep, stress levels, unhealthy food options and lack of gym led to his hair falling out.

Discussing what it's like in the north London mansion candidates live in during the show, he says: “You get no phone, no news, no TV, no leaving the house on your own, no going to the shop on your own, no wallet, no money, no nothing. 

“It's just like being in nursery again – if nursery was prison.”

Keen gymgoer Lewis adds candidates weren’t even allowed to use the pool in the house on their one day free of filming a week for “health and safety reasons,” and the gym producers had set up consisted of “a 5kg weight and a running machine”.

“It’s quite an unhealthy process,” he adds. “It's very long hours, not the best food, grabbing stuff on the go quite a lot of time, sandwiches and whatever, and no gym. 

“Very quickly, I put on a lot of weight, lost any muscle I had, and I started feeling quite ill and tired. 

“I remember having really big bags under my eyes, and I get alopecia when I get really rundown and unhealthy,  which I started to develop again when I was on the show. 

“In the last episode you can see I've got a bald spot at the side of my head.”

Broke the sex ban

Despite the lack of stimulation in the Apprentice house, Lewis managed to cure his boredom by having a fling with fellow contestant Lottie Lion – despite the sex ban that gets put into curb romance every year.

Lewis says: “When we started, we were told, 'No getting with any contestants'. 

“But if you tell me not to do something, I'm gonna go and do it. I don't think it's ever been allowed.”

He previously told us how he and Lottie were both separately spoken to by producers when Lottie went around bragging about their night of passion.

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A spokesperson from The Apprentice said: "The Apprentice has stringent welfare procedures in place for candidates before, during and after filming.

"The care of our candidates is a process we take very seriously and is our highest priority. Our welfare team works extremely closely with them throughout the process, and they are made aware of all the support available to them."

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