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Social Justice

Influencer Molly Mae slammed for ‘Thatcherite’ comments on poverty and privilege

Molly Mae is now creative director of Pretty Little Things, a fashion brand which has been accused of paying garment workers £3.50 an hour.

Reality TV star Molly Mae Hague has received widespread criticism following her controversial comments on poverty, inequality and  privilege.  

The 22-year-old influencer said she understood that “people have different financial situations” but insisted that “if you want something enough you can achieve it.”

“I’ve worked my absolute arse off to get where I am now,” she added.

Hague rose to fame on Love Island after competing in beauty pageants as a teenager. In 2019 she signed a deal with fashion brand Pretty Little Thing reportedly worth £500,000 and became the brand’s creative director in 2021, despite the company’s owner, BooHoo, facing modern slavery allegations after a Sunday Times investigation found it paid garment workers as little as £3.50 an hour.

The comments came in an interview on YouTube series The Diary of a CEO, where she states that anyone has the potential to be rich if they work hard enough as “we all have the same 24 hours in a day”.  

Among those to speak out about the comments was BBC presenter Jessica Davies, who said: “I respect Molly Mae for making the most of her opportunity & grabbing it with both hands, but I DESPAIR at the quote about everyone having the same time in a day as Beyoncé. The reality is that social inequality means there’ll never be an even playing field”. 

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The  interview was published on December the 13th but the video went viral on January the 5th after it was shared on Twitter. 

“If you’re homeless just buy a house,” wrote the user. The video has been viewed almost 4 million times.

In the video, Hague added: “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 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. But, technically, what I’m saying is correct. We do.” 

She continued: “So I understand we all have different backgrounds and we’re all raised in different ways, and we do have different financial situations, but I think if you want something enough you can achieve it. 

“It just depends on what lengths you want to go to get where you want to be in the future. And I’ll go to any length.” 

As many as 14.5 million people are estimated to be living in poverty in the UK, roughly one in five people. More than two in five families told the Child Poverty Action Group they fell into poverty in 2020, meaning hundreds of thousands were struggling to pay bills and cover costs for their child during the pandemic 

Twitter users have blasted her comments and highlighted how she has failed to acknowledge her privilege.

“So fed up of rich people saying we have the same 24 hours in a day — not if you’re chronically ill you don’t!” wrote Emma Flint.

Louis Staples, a writer and editor, compared Molly’s comments to former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.  

“Molly Mae is a prime example of how influencers promote individualist narratives and a very right-wing world-view,” he wrote, “Thatcherite talking-points dressed up in ‘inspirational’ influencer speak”. 

Colin Millar added: “The ‘social-media influencer’ who signed a £500,000 branding deal with a company who pay sweatshop workers £3.50 per hour has views on fairness and the need to work harder”. 

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