Two ‘X Factor’ judges in New Zealand sacked after ‘bullying’ contestant live on air

Natalia Kills and Willy Moon called Joe Irvine "disgusting" and "creepy"

Two judges on the New Zealand version of The X Factor have been fired after abusing a contestant on the show this weekend.

British pop star Natalia Kills and her husband, Willy Moon, have been removed from the show by Mediaworks, the owners of X Factor broadcaster TV3. The move comes after a live show on Saturday (March 14) in which the pair harshly criticised contestant Joe Irvine following his performane.

The controversial moment, which you can see below, came when the couple began their critique of Irvine. Kills started by saying that Irvine was copying her husband’s style and adding: “You’re a laughingstock. It’s cheesy, it’s disgusting. I personally found it absolutely artistically atrocious. I am embarrassed to be sitting here in your presence having to even dignify you with an answer of my opinion… You make me sick.”

Moon, who is originally from New Zealand and married Kills in 2014, then added: “It’s like Norman Bates dressing up in his mother’s clothing. It’s just a little bit creepy,” said the New Zealand-born singer-songwriter, referencing the central character in Psycho. “I feel like you’re going to stitch someone’s skin to your face and then kill everyone in the audience.”

The Guardian reports that TV3 came under “extreme pressure” from from sponsors to fire the pair after the clip went viral on Sunday (March 15). TV3 described the incident as “bullying” on its Facebook page and added: “We have decided Natalia Kills and Willy Moon are no longer suitable to judge The X Factor NZ and have been removed from the show.”

X Factor has also issued a statement which reads: “MediaWorks has removed Natalia Kills and Willy Moon from The X Factor NZ judging panel.”

Fellow judges Stan Walker, a former winner of Australian Idol, and All Saints singer Melanie Blatt will continue as the sole judges on the show while replacements for Kills and Moon are found.