BBC The Apprentice: Kathryn Burn speaks out on Aaron Willis beef after boardroom argument

The Apprentice finalist Kathryn Burn has hit out at the suggestion of any bad feeling towards fellow contestant Aaron Willis after the pair shared an angry showdown before he was fired. The 28-year-old pyjama company owner went head-to-head with the former RAF man moments before he was half of a dramatic double firing alongside Akeem Bundu-Kamara ahead of the show’s semi-final.

The pair clashed as Kathryn quizzed the 38-year-old on his capabilities as Project Manager, telling Lord Alan Sugar he was “probably not” a good leader, the Mirror reports. She added: “I would say that he just lacks leadership and direction,” to which he replied: “I would have liked if you had any issues to just let me know, but obviously things change.”

As the team later discussed where the task went wrong, Aaron brought Kathryn’s comments back up and demanded an explanation. He said: “If you’re saying to me Kathryn that maybe you wanted someone to tell you what to do when that was your forte, you should have said that more.”

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Kathryn later told the cameras: “I just made a comment on how I felt in the boardroom about his leadership skills and he didn’t take it well.” When The Apprentice finalist Kathryn was asked whether she was pleased to have reached the final hurdle ahead of Aaron, she told The Mirror and other press that she doesn’t compare herself to others.

“For me, it was my journey and my journey only, so Lord Sugar knows who he wants to move forward with in the process,” she said. “Unfortunately that week, it was Aaron that got fired along with Akeem, but I can’t comment on other people. I’m there for me and my journey only.”

Aaron Willis on The Apprentice
Aaron Willis on The Apprentice

After his firing, Aaron subsequently denied claims of bullying on the set of the BBC show amid reports he reduced some of his fellow candidates to tears in unaired scenes. Aaron spoke out after it was alleged that one contestant was upset following a heated debate with Aaron during the baby food challenge, which was during the same episode of his firing.

The BBC has stated it is “categorically untrue that scenes were edited” to exclude allegedly “explosive scenes”. Aaron has stated he finds the claims disappointing and said his conduct was always in line with the clear guidelines in place on the show.

“These accusations have no foundation and I find it disappointing that someone would decide to make these claims now, and in such a public way,” he said in a statement. “Conversations can get heated during the process, but at no point was my conduct not compliant with the clear guidelines put in place by the producers.”

A spokesman for the BBC show added: “The welfare of all our candidates is of paramount importance and we have robust duty of care protocols in place to support them. It is categorically untrue that scenes were edited out in order to cover up claims of bullying.”