Simon Cowell sued for humiliation

Last Updated: Thu, Jul 22, 2010 10:20 hrs

Simon Cowell has been sued for $3.7 million by a contestant from 'Britain's Got Talent' show who claims she was 'humiliated and degraded' on the show.

Emma Amelia Pearl Czikai, 54, said she was mocked by judges Cowell, Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan when they buzzed her off saying she could not sing.

Cowell said she had a 'horrible singing voice' while Holden commented: 'I just can't see how she can't see that she can't sing.'

Czikai said she was ridiculed in front of 20 million viewers in May last year and the trio took away her 'self respect and dignity' in order to boost the programme's ratings and profit.

'I haven't got a horrible singing voice when I sing in a fair environment that meets the needs of my particular disabilities as I proved when I performed live on 'Britain's Got More Talent',' quoted her as saying.

'This programme makes a select number of rich people very, very rich on the backs of the ordinary man and woman in the street through exploitation, humiliation, degradation and a re-emergence of modern-day barbarism with all its inherent cruelty,' she added.

She says her performance, screened in May last year, suffered as a result of numerous medical complaints.

She also said that the contestants were routinely humiliated, bullied into saying things they didn't mean and goaded to become angry and frustrated to make good television show.

In an employment tribunal hearing, Czikai claimed she was the victim of disability discrimination because the talent show had not made adjustments for her such as lowering the music and microphone levels.

Czikai was seeking $458,064 for her injured feelings, compensation of $1.51 million and loss of earnings of $1.89 million - although she said if she were awarded any money it would go to charity.

'Britain's Got More Talent' is a companion show that airs on digital channel ITV2 and on TV3 Ireland.

Thomas Linden QC, representing Cowell's TV company Simco, opposed Czikai's right to have a full hearing on the basis that the show was not an employer and that the staff had no prior knowledge of her disabilities. He also questioned whether posting a clip on the web constituted on-going harassment.

Czikai suffers from fibromyalgia, which is characterised by widespread pain and fatigue, but is not recognised by some doctors. The hearing continues.

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