13 February 1975 |
Barnstaple, Devon, England
|Occupation||Reality television participant, tabloid columnist|
Katie Olivia Hopkins (born 13 February 1975 in Barnstaple, Devon) is a tabloid newspaper columnist, former British reality television contestant. She appeared on the third UK series of TV reality programme The Apprentice, but resigned during the eleventh week, having made herself memorable for controversial comments. She also took part in I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! on ITV, and has since made various other media appearances.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Personal life
- 3 The Apprentice
- 4 Aftermath
- 5 Meteorological Office firing
- 6 Business career
- 7 I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
- 8 Classism controversy
- 9 2013 Glasgow helicopter crash remarks
- 10 Political life
- 11 References
- 12 External links
She was born in Barnstaple, Devon, the second daughter of Roy Hopkins and Anona C. O. Crowle on 13 February 1975, and christened Katie Olivia. She attended a private convent school from age 3 to 16.
After A-levels she studied economics at the University of Exeter, sponsored by the Intelligence Corps. Hopkins went on to Sandhurst, but was discharged due to epilepsy shortly before completing her military training.
Hopkins and McKinney separated shortly after the birth of their second daughter Poppy in 2005 and subsequently divorced.
After her involvement in The Apprentice, Hopkins took up a job at the Met Office in Exeter. Here, she met Mark Cross, a married design manager. This was widely reported in the tabloid press. In 2010, her marriage to Cross was filmed as part of the reality game show Four Weddings, which is shown on the satellite and cable channel Sky Living.
She continues to suffer severe epilectic fits.
In 2006, Hopkins appeared in series three of the reality TV show The Apprentice, in which contestants compete for a £100,000-a-year job working for British businessman Alan Sugar. The opening episode of the series, broadcast on 28 March 2007, attracted over four million viewers. She received particular media attention due to her outspoken opinions of the other contestants. She rejected Sir Alan Sugar's offer of a place in the final episode of the programme, citing problems regarding childcare provision for her daughters, and withdrew from the competition at the end of the penultimate task. The episode pulled in 6.2 million viewers, while the following You're Fired! episode, in which Hopkins was interviewed, was watched by 3.1 million.
Hopkins was the project manager of her team on The Apprentice for two tasks, in week two and again in week nine. Her team won both of these tasks. She was criticised by Sugar for being a "loser", due to her being on the losing team frequently. She defended herself by responding that whenever she led, her team won. Contestants Adam Hosker and Ghazal Asif brought Hopkins back to the "boardroom" in weeks seven and eight of the competition, both failing to get her fired.
Comments and views
Comments were aimed not just at her fellow contestants but also at viewers of television shopping channels, maternity leave, the overweight and people with the names Mavis and Derek. Although these comments might have been offensive to some, she insisted in her You're Fired! interview that it was only in the name of comedy, and suggested that she "just needed to vent a bit".
Hopkins emerged as a hate figure in the media, during her time on the programme. The tabloid press criticised her.
Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill writer Richard Curtis expressed his distaste for Hopkins, jokingly vowing to kill her when he accepted his Fellowship award at the 2007 BAFTA awards. Her fellow contestants have questioned why she took part in the programme. Simon Ambrose, a fellow contestant, told Nuts Magazine that he once "had a crush on her", and also criticised Katie's much-publicised personal life as he came from a "broken home." Ambrose also quoted Hopkins' friends' claim that her sole purpose in participating in the programme was to start a media career.
Hopkins, like all other Apprentice candidates, appeared on the accompanying spin-off programme, The Apprentice: You're Fired!, receiving a mixed response from the studio audience. When video clips of her comments about other candidates were shown, Hopkins explained that they were "quite funny". Michelle Mone, the founder of lingerie company, Ultimo, a guest on the panel, verbally attacked Hopkins, calling her "exceptionally selfish" and made remarks such as "You've given businesswomen a bad name".
Sugar's questioning Hopkins about her childcare arrangements led to his being accused of sexism by the Trade Union Congress, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation. He was accused of violating the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act. This incident created controversy and was well documented in the media. Sugar argued his case in an interview with GMTV host Fiona Phillips, stating that he was well aware of the rules.
After her appearance on The Apprentice, Hopkins signed two exclusive deals to sell her story: a newspaper deal with the News of the World and a magazine deal with EMAP, the company behind Heat and Grazia magazines.
Hopkins revealed in an interview with BBC Radio Kent that she had great respect for Sugar, and that she believed she would have won the programme had she been in the final episode. She also said that the media's attitudes towards her did not affect her, but did affect her family. When talking to Fiona Phillips in an interview aired on GMTV Today on the morning of the final Apprentice episode, Hopkins suggested that, had she accepted Sugar's offer of a place in the final, she would have emerged victorious, despite that Sugar said that if she wanted to press on he would fire her, irrespective of who she was competing with. Hopkins told BBC Radio 1 that she has not yet ruled out a media career but has expressed an interest in starting a business venture.
She has appeared in an episode of 8 Out of 10 Cats and has also been a guest-star on Loose Women and The Friday Night Project. Hopkins wrote a column for the Express and Echo newspaper in Exeter, much to the criticism of its readers, but was eventually asked to leave after a poll was put onto the publication's website asking if she should continue with the post. She has most recently presented a Five Live Report on family life and working mothers for BBC Radio 5 Live and contributed an article on the same subject to BBC Online.
Meteorological Office firing
Hopkins worked at the Meteorological Office (Met Office) for a time but was dismissed in early 2007. A Met Office statement said that she did not meet the required standards to complete her probationary period, and confirmed that her performance on The Apprentice and confessions about her private life were a factor in her dismissal.
Hopkins is often introduced as a business woman in television appearances, and refers to herself in her media articles as an employer in a small business. That business is 'Katie Hopkins Limited', a company classified as a "business & management consultancy", based in Exeter, Devon, and incorporated on 21 June 2007. Hopkins is the sole shareholder and only director, with her husband, Mark Cross, acting as company secretary. The company has run at a net loss since June 2009. As of 30 June 2012 it had a net worth of -£11,927, and had no declared turnover at all during the previous 12 months.
I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
Hopkins caused further controversy in July 2013 during an appearance on ITV's This Morning, when she revealed that she judges her children's classmates based upon their given names. She revealed a particular dislike for the names Tyler and Chardonnay, which met with disapproval from host Holly Willoughby and was widely described as classism on Twitter. Hopkins claimed that she did not like "geographical location names" despite the fact that she had given the name India to one of her daughters, stating that India "is not related to a location".
At that time she was a columnist for British tabloids The Sun and the Daily Mirror. Although other newspapers' comments about her include "faux-posh imbecile, an insufferable snob and a low-life superbitch", accusing her of generating outrage on demand, she described herself as a "conduit for truth", declaring what other people think but are too scared to say.
Appearing as a panellist on Channel 5's The Big Benefits Row: Live in February 2014, she was accused by Terry Christian amongst others of only expressing her controversial opinions in order to make money from media appearances.
2013 Glasgow helicopter crash remarks
Hopkins joked about Scottish life expectancy on Twitter on the day following the 2013 Glasgow helicopter crash. The remark was met with widespread condemnation, to which Hopkins retorted "Following Independence I will only be the Biggest bitch in England", and that she would be "forced to read the Labour manifesto and subscribe to the Guardian". She described people's reactions as "PC tastic". On the following Monday, she issued an apology and claimed that her original remark was meant to be in reference to a 2011 NHS report, "Healthy Life Expectancy in Scotland: Update of trends to 2010".
Katie Hopkins stood for MEP for the South West England Constituency as an Independent candidate. She polled 8,971 votes or 0.6% percent of the total votes cast. She plans to stand in 2014 for the We Demand a Referendum party.
Hopkins has appeared on Question Time on 10 June 2010 and 27 January 2011. She has also appeared on the Young Voters' version of Question Time on 20 October 2010. She appeared on an episode of 10 O'Clock Live on 24 April 2013 alongside Theo Paphitis and Owen Jones to defend the legacy of the late Margaret Thatcher, as well as to debate tax policies and the division of wealth amongst UK citizens.
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