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"Idol" Producer Slams Rosie, Defends Show

3/7/2007 7:13 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer of "American Idol," has just released a statement in response to criticism made against the show by "View" host Rosie O'Donnell. It reads:

"Without wishing to add to the obvious self-promotion of Ms. O'Donnell, I feel as though I must refute her absurd and ridiculous claims that 'American Idol' is racist and/or weightist.

"Ms. O'Donnell has, once again, spoken without thought or knowledge. Viewers need only look at the show tonight to realize that 'American Idol' constantly confirms to America that talent has nothing to do with weight or color."

It was Rosie's comments on Tuesday's episode of "The View" that drew "Idol's" ire. Rosie called the show "weightist and racist" over the way it has handled the Antonella Barba photo scandal this season, as opposed to when it booted contestant Frenchie Davis for the same thing. Although an "Idol" spy tells us that the difference is that Frenchie was paid for her pre-Idol porn, while Antonella's photos were private, and published without her knowledge or permission.

Idol's On Vacation: Click to launch photos"Idol" has also banned "The View" from using clips from the show.

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