Dragons’ Den’s Steven Bartlett blasted for ‘harsh’ and ‘callous’ criticism of entrepreneur

Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Steven Bartlett has been slammed for his “harsh” critique of a business hopeful. The 31-year-old came under fire from viewers during tonight’s (February, 29) episode of the BBC business show for laying into one of the pitches, and even criticised his fellow Dragon Sara Davies for disagreeing with him.

When hopeful Daniel pitched his drinks business, We Are Spirits, he confidently claimed he would “shake up the drinks industry”.

His alcohol brand fascinated the Dragons, but they also were quick to call out a few issues, including that the product wasn’t eco-friendly as pointed out by Deborah Meaden.

But Steven went further, asking: “Where does this sell? Does it sell just from the bike or does it sell somewhere else?” to which the man, named Daniel, said: “We have a website.”

“And what percentage of your sales come from the website?” Steven replied, to which the businessman admitted: “We’ve sold a few bottles over the last few weeks.”

“I’m not surprised,” the Dragon responded, adding: “Because you have no brand… I mean, these labels look like they’ve been produced by a printer from 1988.”

But Daniel hit back: “That was the feel that we were going for, back to the basics… No electricity or printers are involved.”

“I actually disagree,” said Sara in defence of the product as Steven held up the bottle and asked: “You like that? Sara, please tell me on national television you like that brand.”

She shot back: “Steven Bartlett, I like that brand!,” before sarcastically adding: “Because you are all about sustainability.”

Viewers took to social media after the tense exchange to criticise Steven’s critique.

One wrote: “I quite like his simple stamp labelling. Steven Bartlett is too harsh with branding sometimes. #DragonsDen.” Another said: “#dragonsden oh steven how callous…”

A third commented: “Ah, Steven. It was quite obvious the printing was meant to look retro. C’mon, beloved.#DragonsDen,” while a fourth ranted: “Steven is really hard to like – smug, snide, always belittling Touker #dragonsden.”

Dragons’ Den is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.


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