Simon Cowell is being sued by former X Factor contestant Katie Waissel over an alleged breach of duty of care while she was on the series.
- READ MORE: ‘The X Factor’ bows out after 17 years: here’s what really killed the singing reality show
Waissel took part in the 2010 series of the show alongside One Direction, and finished seventh overall.
In 2021, the musician revealed that she underwent therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after suffering panic attacks and suicidal thoughts following her being labelled as the “most hated” contestant of the series.
Waissel, who is now a lawyer, is taking legal action against Cowell’s record company Syco Entertainment for an alleged breach of duty of care.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, Waissel said: “I am pursuing a civil case of personal injury under negligence, which pertains to duty of care.”
The Statute of Limitations on a case like this is three years and so Waissel and her legal team will need to convince a judge to overturn this if the claim is to go ahead.
Speaking about issues with the contract she received at the time, Waissel explained: “I was [contractually] given £1 in exchange for appearing on the live shows section of the programme.
“That structure is manipulation and coercion at its finest. Company A, who is in a position of power, seeks person B, who is vulnerable. Company A says, this is the biggest opportunity of your life and without it, you would be nothing. That is the absolute pinnacle of where it’s all gone wrong. It gives me goosebumps…”
She added: “There are so many of us who have been so trapped and it’s not fair, there was a huge imbalance in power. I just wanted to be able to understand [the contracts] and to protect people from being manipulated in the future.”
NME has reached out to representatives of Simon Cowell and ITV for comment.
Back in December, it was reported that Simon Cowell was in talks to relaunch The X Factor in the US.
The stateside version of the musical TV talent show was launched by Cowell in 2011, seven years after the UK version started in 2004. It ran for three seasons until Cowell returned to the UK show in 2014.
After the UK X Factor was cancelled last year after 17 seasons, sources told Deadline that Cowell is keen to bring it back to screens in the United States.
The report states that talks are underway to revive the series on NBC, with Cowell recently telling The Sun that the network had “offered us to make the show”.
Last year, it was announced that a documentary is in the works which will investigate claims of bullying and harassment behind-the-scenes on the ITV show.
Two production companies are believed to be working on the TV special, which will include interviews with former contestants who claim “bullying, exploitation and harassment” took place off-camera on the singing competition.
According to The Mail On Sunday, a number of X Factor stars have agreed to take part, including “at least one” of judge Cowell‘s former aides.
A source told the publication: “There are currently some former contestants telling their stories for the programme. There are some out there who believe they were mistreated by the X Factor machine. They are now going to get their chance to have a say.”
A number of former contestants have been critical of the show in recent years. After the show was axed by ITV last year, Jedward posted on Twitter: “X Factor has been axed. Mission Complete.”
Speaking to ITV News, John Grimes from the duo said: “I feel a lot of people have been exploited on the show, people behind the scenes, different contestants have come forward and shared their stories.”
For help and advice on mental health:
- Help Musicians UK – Around the clock mental health support and advice for musicians (CALL MUSIC MINDS MATTER ON: 0808 802 8008)
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- ‘Am I depressed?‘ – Help and advice on mental health and what to do next
- YOUNG MINDS – The voice for young people’s health and wellbeing
- CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably for young men
- Time To Change – Let’s end mental health discrimination
- The Samaritans – Confidential support 24 hours a day