Simon Cowell’s production company is facing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit from former contestants of reality talent show X Factor, a report says.
An unnamed source told the UK’s Sunday Mirror that she and five other acts were approaching a law firm to sue SyCo for at least £1 million ($1.2 million) over an experience she said comprised “bullying, mistreatment, and neglect”.
“Being on the show was a horrific experience. We’ve been suffering for years as a result. It’s awful,” the woman told the newspaper.
Acts including One Direction and Little Mix initially found fame on the UK version of the show, which ended in 2018 and also ran in the US for three seasons. SyCo also co-produces Britain’s Got Talent and America’s Got Talent.
“We lost a lot of money from having periods of our lives not making money to deal with trauma still ingrained from the show,” the woman told the Mirror.
“It will be a £1 million-plus case. It’s about justice, being compensated for the time and money we’ve spent with medical professionals trying to live normal lives again.”
The woman told the Mirror that many contestants were sleep deprived, in tears, and suffering trauma before having to go on stage.
“Your mental wellbeing was of no one’s interest. We were just pawns in their game. When I entered the show I was confident, ambitious and charismatic,” she said. “Now I am extremely untrusting, emotional, nervous and full of anxiety.”
The Mirror was asked by SyCo to make clear there is no allegation Cowell was in any way aware of, or personally involved in, the incidents or behaviour alleged by the former contestants.
A spokesperson for The X Factor told the newspaper: “Welfare of those taking part is our No1 priority and we have robust measures and welfare teams in place to ensure support is always available.
“We are unaware of any legal claims being filed against The X Factor and despite not being on air for several years, we remain open to discuss concerns with anyone who chooses to do so.”
A source familiar with the case told the Mirror that it could end up with dozens more claimants, with lawyers believing the contestants have a strong case that will be brought forward in due course.
SyCo and The X Factor didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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