We know Simon Cowell is not a man to mince his words. But this old clip from 2004 has shocked even die-hard fans, as it shows him shaming an X Factor contestant over her weight.
The talent show judge – along with his co-stars Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne – were labelled “awful” and “harsh” after telling a pregnant woman to “go on a diet”.
The original video shows Samantha auditioning with a heartfelt rendition of Mariah Carey’s Hero.
She tells the camera: “I got married a week on Saturday. I’m also supposed to be on our honeymoon in Barbados at the minute, but we cancelled it so I could come and do this!
“If I don’t get through, I will be absolutely gutted because it means absolutely everything to me.”
Simon, now 59, originally told her: “I like you.” But after she sang, he told her: “You sound nice, but you look like a shop girl. That’s the problem.”
She replied: “OK. That’s something can be worked on.” And he cuttingly told her: “Well, it’s a lot of work.”
Louis added: “I think you should have gone on your honeymoon. I really do. It’s nothing special, Simon.” He then called her: “Mission impossible.”
Samantha then said: “I know what you’re saying” and the music mogul asked: “What are we saying?” She looked embarrassed as she told him: “That I’m overweight.” He responded: “You are, you really are.”
Sharon, 66, told her she had a “lovely face, and a lovely voice.” But she added: “Missus, go on a diet.”
Almost the most shocking part is that Samantha ended up THANKING the judges, when they reluctantly put her through to the next stage – on the condition she lose weight.
And in a shocking second clip, we saw Samantha admitting to presenter Kate Thornton that she was actually seven months pregnant!
While cradling her bump, she said: “[I’m] nearly seven months. At the end of the day, I’m pregnant. There’s nothing I can do about it. So I’m going to try and go as far as I can, the way I am.”
Social media exploded over the clip, with most blasting the judges for their unforgivable comments.
One wrote: “I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW HARSH THEY USED TO BE ON THE X FACTOR. This poor woman 😩 Imagine the uproar if they said this now.”
A second commented: “Wow!! Three of the biggest judges on #XFactor fat shaming a girl back in 2004 – what the hell gives you [the right] #simoncowell #sharonosbourne #louiswalsh to tell a person they are fat & go on a diet? Should be ashamed of yourselves.”
A third said: “And they wonder why girls worry about their weight.”
Awful girl was stunning I thought x
— Danniella Westbrook (@westbrookdanni) January 11, 2019
Even EastEnders actress Danniella Westbrook waded into the conversation, tweeting: “Awful, girl was stunning I thought x.”
Some others defended the judges, with one tweeting: “I don’t feel shock but for today’s double standards. Back then at least people were honest enough to admit that a pop star has to meet idiotic beauty standards. Nowadays they still do but have to pretend as if they thought being fat is good and ok…”
Another said: “What? Like you thought he was a good person?”
— 🥃Russell (@RussellHayward) January 11, 2019
A third wrote: “Sadly this is / was the harsh reality of the music industry back then and probably still is in some places – I’m not shocked at this at all.”
In an extra twist to the story, Twitter user Russell – who originally posted the old clip – claims to have received a message from Samantha herself.
In the message, she apparently wrote: “You want to let everyone know I’m alive and kicking!! A friend sent me the link today so joined twitter to have a read!! It was brutal looking back but like a good wine I got better with age!!!”
She also tweeted that she had been on “the diet of life” and posted a picture of herself now, slimmer, with darker hair.
We’d clearly forgotten how harsh the judges could be. Maybe age has softened them all up?
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