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'American Idol' -- We Don't Discriminate!

4/12/2011 5:58 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

The honchos at "American Idol" are scoffing at the claim of an audience member who says she was banished to the back of the studio because she was "just too big, too heavy to be in front."

American Idol

Manfred Westphal, who heads up communications for Fremantle (which produces "Idol"), tells TMZ, 19-year-old Ashley Kauffman and her party of 6 were some of the first audience members to arrive for the April 7, 2011 show.  Westphal says, "Our audience coordinator explained they had 6 great seats on the floor; however, the seats were in 2 groups of 3."

Westphal says Kauffman and her party agreed to be split up.  And, Westphal says, contrary to Kauffman's allegation, she was not sent alone to the back of the studio.  Westphal says Kauffman and 2 others in her party were seated 4 rows behind their friends, "directly in camera shot, in some of the best seats in the house."

Westphal says, "At 'American Idol,' we always strive to assure that every audience member has the best experience possible, and these allegations are simply untrue."


110 COMMENTS

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31.

Scrum    

Ok, give Chubby her money back. What, she didn't pay for the seats? Then show her to the trough ... I mean door.

1254 days ago
32.

Virtual Insanity    

I do not see how she is entitled to a certain seat. She didn't buy a ticket to a certain specific seat did she? They were within their power to move her. Though, they certainly didn't need to be so crass and nasty about it.

1254 days ago
33.

Hotwheelz    

Fat Beast is just mad because she was to far from the snack bar......

1254 days ago
34.

Wowza    

I hope the fat people haters die of a heart attack while working out.

1254 days ago
35.

who-me    

Nothing is worse than a loud mouth fat girl that thinks she's hot.

1254 days ago
36.

Bethy    

Oh, I totally believe this girl's story. I had tickets to AI back during Season 3. I was actually held BEHIND the side curtains and told that there were no seats available, even though there were plenty of seats up top in the back. At least 20 people who behind me in line were seating back there. They had escorted me toward the front, near the stage. I was told that I was never "guaranteed" a seat anyway and that I was lucky to be standing on the side near Ryan. Well, after the opening montage, and after the seats were then all filled... I was told that I had to leave because of fire regulations. I was, however, given "VIP" tickets for a show the next week. That was nice, and when I got to the studio, I was seated in the 2nd or 3rd row, right behind Nigel Lythgoe, near the judges, and right in camera view. Just before the show started, the stage manager told me that I needed to move to the OTHER end of the row, a chair at the very end, right by the curtain. Why? Apparently, they had some celebrity that they needed to seat there instead. My husband got to sit next to him, but they moved me all the way down. I have no doubt it was because they didn't want me on camera because of my size. During the broadcast show, you could see my back for a fraction of a moment at the opening crowd shot, but that was it.

I've also had a similar experience at a Big Brother finale. I was held in the green room with support staff rather than allowed to be in the audience, and I was specifically told that it was because the only open seats were "right up front and it's too tight of a fit" for larger people there.

The spokespeople are just blowing smoke... I 100% guarantee that her size was an issue.

1254 days ago
37.

AnonyMouse    

I believe what this woman says. The one time I went into LA to be an audience member (from Orange County) my sister and I, no beauties but nobody actually goes blind looking at us, were put in the back while good-looking people were put in front. I knew what was going on but didn't bother to complain. What's the point. The show was Late Night With Craig Ferguson, but I'm sure they all do the same thing.

1254 days ago
38.

Sonja    

Any venue, when you try and buy a larger set of tickets, will stick you in the back.. happens all the time at concerts. They slip her group up into two groups four rows apart .. big deal.

1254 days ago
39.

John 8:32    

I agree with you number nine... I'd like to know how many of those so-called seating coordinators... were even an ounce of what would be considered overweight ?? I remember working for Disney... and on their employment catalog they have people of all nationalities displayed... but after I was hired I could count the people of color on one finger and it was mines.

This show claims that it doesn't discriminate... I would have to use the telescope at the Griffith Park Observatory. To see a nice-looking black male as a contestant on this show...

This is sad day and time when these entertainment companies are still discriminating in one form or another just for the sake of keeping screwed-up Middle America happy. Let's keep those overweight people in the back where they belong... also keep those people of color out of the front view of the camera.

Of course they're discriminating in different forms.

Now this is for you weasels... that will sit there and read my posts and think I don't know what I'm talking about...

Throughout the current entire season...

I noticed that there hasn't been one attractive talented black male... displayed as a contestant. Who was not a black male stereotype. (( dark skin... bald-heads... or overweight )). When it comes to white males... you have no problem seeing the images that most females would like to see in a male companion... young nice-looking nice hairstyle.

This is absolutely no coincidence.

I remember when Russell Brand visited the contestants... to try to cheer them-up with some jokes... I remember him saying something along the lines of : "You're all very beautiful people... very talented and you have beautiful hair!" Then he looked over at Jacob... and said well you're okay too!"

You have nice looking... and unattractive people... in every culture and nationality... if I wanted to display any culture as being fat... or not attractive... I could easily find some of those to display... for whites as well. The company that produces the show, knows middle-America will not question it's Production as long as they're not on the short-end of the stick.

I can hear America saying right now. "Well Randy Jackson is a nice-looking black male... and so is Jacob Lusk. "Yeah right!"

They do this sort of thing all the time on these kind of shows.

Look at that show the "voice..." that's coming out soon.

Who's the black representative on that show..? (("CEE LO!!"))

Now this is for those of you who are just stuck in denial :

"It is nice to see... that American Idol did hire... some nice black musicians... And singer to accompany some contestants!"

"Let someone explain to me... how this is just a coincidence!"

"That out of about seven or so black musicians in that backup group almost all of them are unattractive and the same old black male stereotypes. (( dark complected... bald-heads )).

I'm going to stop right here... but the company behind this show really needs to change a lot of things... because their reality and demographics are changing by the minute...

"How many of those seat coordinators were FAT or BLACK!?!"

1254 days ago
40.

Redskye    

The very best opera stars are big people with fabulous voices.It's sad that they discriminate against her size and over look her talent.

1254 days ago
41.

me    

Sorry,AI is lying. It is COMMON practice to put the pretty girls in the front. The only difference is, the people moving you to the front are not supposed to TELL you why they are moving you there, and they are not supposed to tell the people not "pretty" enough to move up why they can't be moved up. I know they are trying to avoid a discrimination suit here. but they are guilty of exactly that. Anyone remember Jimmy and Doug's Farm Club? That's Jimmy Iovine. The same Jimmy Iovine that was just a guest on AI. Well I worked the J&D Farmclub events at the old Battlestar Galactica set and it was the same thing. Some of the girls in THAT show were actually paid to appear in the front though (when they had low fan turnout) and from the other fans that showed up, they would only pull the cute ones up front and in direct camera shot and the ugly ones were put in back. Don't act so shocked, it is called SHOW biz for a reason.

1254 days ago
42.

me    

I think shes a liar just trying to get the spot light get a life

Posted at 2:47 PM on Apr 12, 2011 by kar

No, she isn't lying- she's telling the truth. AI just doesn't want to be sued. The audience coordinator blew it by being honest about why the girl couldn't sit in front. IT is STANDARD practice in the televised music industry and everyone knows it. Having said that I don't think the girl deserves a payday, but she deserves some honesty about it from AI- I shall hold my breathe waiting for that to happen! lol

1254 days ago
43.

Cynstriss    

They do that in all shows with a live audience on every network. It's common practice. Just ask the people that do the seating. If they are honest, they will admit it.

1254 days ago
44.

WellSinceYouDidntAsk    

The girl has a point and cause for a lawsuit. Discrimination is the rule in Hollywood. If you don't look a certain way, then you don't exist in their make believe world. I was once an extra in an audience in a movie called Noises Off back in the 90s. Since I'm not a lily white WASP, I was put way in the back in a crowd scene. I hope that she sues FOX and wins. I HATE AMERICAN IDOL!

1254 days ago
45.

Ann    

This doesn't really seem like a credible claim to me. I have seen plenty of plus sized and/or unattractive people in the front on AI!

1254 days ago
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