Jesy Nelson is ‘devastated’ her former bandmate Leigh-Anne Pinnock sparked racial hatred and a new wave of intense trolling towards her, telling pals she cannot believe ‘someone she once called family could be so cruel.’
Sources close to the singer, 30, told MailOnline she is also upset her debut solo single launch with US superstars Nicki Minaj, 38, and P Diddy, 51, has been overshadowed by a ‘Little Mix vs Jesy’ row.
On Monday, during a live stream with Nicki, the rapper passionately defended Jesy, accusing her ex bandmates of jealousy and branding them ‘clowns’ following Leigh-Anne’s leaked texts to TikTok user No Hun encouraging him to promote Jesy’s ‘blackfishing.’
‘Little Mix has always stood for anti-bullying’: Jesy Nelson is ‘devastated’ Leigh-Anne Pinnock sparked racial hatred and a new wave of intense trolling towards her
MailOnline can reveal Jesy was caught ‘off guard’ by the comments and had no control over Nicki’s outburst, plus she is fully aware of the meaning of ‘blackfishing’ – a term used to describe a white person attempting to appear they have black heritage.
But Jesy, who revealed in her 2019 BBC Three documentary Odd One Out that she attempted suicide over intense trolling, is ‘distraught’ Leigh-Anne, 30, has helped orchestrate further abuse.
A source said: ‘Jesy is turning to friends for support during this time as the trolling which so badly affected her during her Little Mix days has come back in a big way – and that’s one of the reasons why she left the band in the first place.
‘It should have been a positive and happy celebration but it’s been tainted by what has started to feel like a personal attack against her.
MailOnline has approached Little Mix and Jesy Nelson’s representatives for comment.
‘Saddened’: Sources close to Jesy say she’s upset her single launch has been overshadowed by a ‘Little Mix vs Jesy’ row, after Leigh-Anne encouraged TikTok user No Hun to promote Jesy’s ‘blackfishing’
‘It’s now become a Little Mix vs Jesy storyline, when ultimately the band and Jesy have always stood for anti-bullying so it’s a shame to see this taking such a sour turn.
‘Jesy has been saddened to hear that somebody she once referred to as ‘family’ has been encouraging online hate towards her, and whilst she appears in a much better head space after going solo, friends and family are checking in with her daily to make sure she’s okay.’
The source confirmed that Jesy was gutted to have caused any offence with her appearance in her new music video, Boyz.
Indeed, she spoke at length about the issue with Nicki following the negative reaction she received.
‘Nicki has taken Jesy under her wing’: On Monday, during a live stream with Nicki, the rapper passionately defended Jesy, accusing her ex bandmates of jealousy and calling them ‘clowns’
The source added: ‘Working with Nicki and P Diddy on the first single was a dream come true for Jesy because she has always been a massive fan of both artists.
‘She’s devastated to have caused any offence and one of the first people she spoke to was Nicki to talk it through.
‘She won’t make any excuses as Jesy understands she still has a lot of learning to do and has apologised for any wrongdoings. She would never want to upset anybody.
‘Nicki has seen first hand the effect the backlash has had on Jesy and has been a pillar of strength for her during this time.
‘She’s really taken Jesy under her wing. Nicki was one of the first people that Jesy called when the trolling started and it’s been hard for everyone around Jesy to see how this is affecting her.’
‘It wasn’t a platform to slate Little Mix’: MailOnline can reveal Jesy was caught ‘off guard’ by Nicki’s comments and she intended on using the livestream to apologise for any wrongdoings
Jesy claims her darker skin tone in their Boyz video, which sparked Leigh-Anne’s blackfishing claims, was down to spending time in Antigua three weeks before the shoot.
Speaking during the livestream with Nicki, Jesy said: ‘I personally want to say that my intention was never, ever to offend people of colour with this video and my song because like I said, growing up as a young girl, this is the music that I listened to.
‘These are the videos that I watched and thought were the best. For me personally, ’90s/2000 hip hop, R&B music was the best era of music. I just wanted to celebrate that. I just wanted to celebrate that era of music because it is what I love.’
Hip-hop star Nicki was vocal in her defence of Jesy and laid into Leigh-Anne for his criticism, accusing the singer and her bandmates of ‘trying to destroy’ her new pal’s career – branding them ‘jealous clowns.’
‘Distraught’: A source close to Jesy told MailOnline the star cannot believe ‘someone she once called family could be so cruel’ after Leigh-Anne was accused of ‘inciting racial hate’ (pictured in 2015)
But Jesy was not anticipating such a passionate outburst from Nicki.
The source explained: ‘Jesy wanted to use that livestream to apologise for any offence she caused, it was never intended to be a platform to slate Little Mix.
‘She had no idea Nicki was going to be so strong in her defence of her, but given she’s seen first hand how upset Jesy was, she couldn’t help herself. Nicki just wanted to have Jesy’s back.’
Jesy received a barrage of abuse on Monday after the text conversation between Leigh-Anne and TikTok user No Hun leaked online.
The Little Mix star, who has Barbadian and Jamaican heritage, branded Jesy a ‘horrible person’ and also claimed she ‘blocked us’ and ‘cut us off’ since she left the band in December 2020.
‘My intention was never to offend people’: Jesy claims her darker skin tone in the Boyz video that features Nicki was down to spending time in Antigua three weeks before the shoot
She also encouraged No Hun to ‘do a video about her being a blackfish’, which allegedly sparked the influencer to make the conversion public, as he was incensed by Leigh-Anne’s request.
Jesy quit Little Mix for the sake of her mental health after being heavily targeted by online trolls during her time in the band, also featuring Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall, both 28, who were formed on the 2011 series of The X Factor.
In a statement released to mark her departure from Little Mix, she wrote: ‘The truth is recently being in the band has really taken a toll on my mental health. I find the constant pressure of being in a girl group and living up to expectations very hard.
‘There comes a time in life when we need to reinvest in taking care of ourselves rather than focusing on making other people happy, and I feel like now is the time to begin the process.
‘I need to spend some time with the people I love, doing things that make me happy. I’m ready to embark on a new chapter in my life – I’m not sure what it’s going to look like right now, but I hope you’ll still be there to support me.’