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Georgia Harrison, a British Love Island alumna, is competing on War of the Worlds 2

By Aurelie Corinthios and Breanne L. Heldman
September 10, 2019 12:16 PM
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MTV’s The Challenge star Georgia Harrison’s publicist is responding to fans that labeled her racist after a photo of her wearing black face paint surfaced on social media.

“The claim that Georgia is racist is disgusting and really worrying,” a rep for Harrison tells PEOPLE.

Harrison, 24, is a British Love Island alumna and member of Team U.K. competing in her sophomore season on War of the Worlds 2.

The rep claims that the photo was taken when Harrison attended a child’s birthday party “years ago.”

“The little boy whose birthday it was asked Georgia to have her face painted and he chose to paint it black and silver,” says the rep. “At no point did Georgia at the time think it would be offensive. Of course now she understands the situation differently and would be horrified to know she’d upset people. However, the bullying campaign that has been launched against Georgia by a couple of angry castmates from The Challenge isn’t fair.”

According to the rep, Harrison is not able to address the controversy herself because she is working and doesn’t have access to her phone. The rep says they are “in the process of taking legal action for defamation against parties that have labelled [Harrison] racist.”

The photo, which is making the rounds on Twitter, has sparked widespread outrage, with many calling on MTV to fire Harrison. PEOPLE has reached out to the network for comment.

Georgia Harrison
Credit: Georgia Harrison/Instagram

“Wow Georgia. This is disgusting and way out of line,” tweeted one person. “Also it’s no one’s place to say if this is acceptable or not. It’s extremely offensive, and someone needs to take accountability #TheChallenge34.”

“I don’t see how anyone can say Georgia isn’t rasict [sic],” tweeted another. “What she did was 100% blackface, regardless are the reason no one should do it. Also the excuse ‘she is in the UK’ isn’t a valid once, since more people over there are rasict [sic]. It’s sad to see people still supporting her…”

Added another, “See that blackface @MTV!? It’s all on you for keep inviting Georgia, Bear, Joss and rookie Nicole too @ChallengeMTV !! Still not learning nothing when you check their past background first. RACISM!!”

Theo Campbell, Harrison’s Challenge costar and fellow Love Island alum, spoke out in her defense.

“I wasn’t going to say anything as it’s BS to me. But think, loveisland is 10x bigger over here then the challenge is in the U.S. if anyone thought she was being racist it would have been picked up on it already,” he tweeted on Monday. “@georgiaharisonx is away filming atm so can’t tell us who she was.”

“She’s one the biggest pro LBGT people, she’s all about equality and is one of the least racist people you’ll ever come across,” he continued. “So leave it out. Look at the los life other challengers trying to shade her name as they didn’t get along with her.”

As the controversy picked up steam, he followed up with two more tweets.

“I haven’t condoned how it looks. I’ve only said black face isn’t really a thing here so what ever she done probably wasn’t aimed at being racist as she at the time probably didn’t even know what black face was,” he wrote Tuesday.

“Like I also said she is away filming for 4 weeks so can’t comment on it,” he continued. “She was at a kids face paint party. So I’m giving her the benefit of doubt as black face isn’t common knowledge here especially 5 years ago. Sorry if I’m wrong but it’s highly unlikely I am.”

The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on MTV.