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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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91.

weep    

I hope this cow gets an Encyclopedia Dramatica page!

1256 days ago
92.

Sillyputty    

I agree. I've been to a recent taping. I'm 47 not bad looking, sat in the top seats.. the two gorgeous young girls behind us in line had the seats behind Steven Tyler.. best seats in the house!! Doesn't bother me.. Its Hollywood baby..

1256 days ago
93.

dimes    

The local CBS station in LA just teased this story for the 11pm news.

Let's see if there's video to prove AI's claim.

1256 days ago
94.

Hime    

Um, even if this were true, what part of it would be wrong? This is television, are you telling me it's unheard of that people get put on TV because they're pretty and thin, and fat and ugly people don't?

When I watch TV I don't want to see what I can see at Walmart. If you're upset that people won't put you on TV because you are too fat, lose weight. It isn't like she's a size 8 and they're being "picky", she's a whale.

1256 days ago
95.

Hime    

@97- Are you saying it makes someone "ugly on the inside" to point out that an overweight person is overweight, and that in show business an overweight person is unlikely to get shown?

It's common sense. If she didn't want people to comment on her weight, she could a) lose weight or at the very least b) not point out that she's too fat to get on TV. Do you (or did she) expect that we'd coddle her and say "she has a pretty face"? She's fat, I don't want her on my TV screen, and neither would most people and the producers know that. Why pick someone ugly when you can have someone pretty? This isn't a personality contest, it's TELEVISION!

1256 days ago
96.

Hime    

@Ashley's sister: Your sister humiliated HERSELF by wanting to be front and center at a TV show when she's fat an unattractive. She has free tickets- those tickets do NOT guarantee her front and center REGARDLESS of whether she was there first. This is Hollywood, where priority doesn't go to the first person who shows up (usually the losers) but to the hottest person in the room. If your sister doesn't like that, she can lose weight, or simply chooe not to be a part of it.

I think it's funny that an obese girl like that claims the show humiliated her...the only thing to be humiliated about is being so fat people don't want to see her.

As for how I'd feel if it happened to me? I wouldn't, because I don't weight 200lbs. But if I were born too ugly to be shown on a TV show, I wouldn't feel bad about it, because I would have enough brain cells to realize that Hollywood likes pretty people.

If you're ugly, or fat, or both, there's no use denying it to yourself.

1256 days ago
97.

Lexy     

Ashley would not lie about something like this just for fame. I used ot be really goo friends with this girl, and she wouldn't try to get spotlight this way.
HELLOOOO people! America is an obese country-it's obvious- so we shoulnd't discriminate against anyone. She's not heavy, these not a whale or a "teen mom" or a pig. Nobody should be treated like that or have to get seated according to what they look like. We've had obese people on American Idol and you don't see them not being able to perform because they're bigger than everyone else. So why shouldn't anything be different for audience members?

1256 days ago
98.

Superman    

Just shocking (NOT!) that most of you seem to be believing the show's employees that are just covering their own asses! It's no secret that this is the way that these kinds of shows treat people just for ratings and sponsors. All these "reality" shows are appalling! And this girl and her friends are/were just like a lot of people watching and worshiping these stupid "reality" shows. This was her wake-up call.

1256 days ago
99.

Moi    

I hate to say it but I totally agree with Hime. I have been to live tapings in LA before. Lucky for me, I am not ugly or fat and was dresses to the nines. So obviously both times my husband and I sat front row in camera view. It's Hollywood! If you are fat and ugly why would you even want your face on tv? I certainly don't want to see you. I may sound harsh but it is reality. Don't tell me you watch tv to see ugly fatties on-screen. And yes, it is true, the producers choose where everyone sits. First come doesn't mean you get the best seats in the house. My husband and I were both times towards the end of the line but still managed to get great seats. It you read the tickets you print out, you can clearly see that they want you to dress up and look your best. So to all you people in flip-flops with no make-up...guess where you're gonna sit?

1256 days ago
100.

gd45    

Who Cares, the show is about the singers not the people sitting in the crowd. This stupid girl only is making a fuss because she wants her 15 minutes of fame.

Guess what, YOUR NOT IMPORTANT LADY, and you never will be....

1256 days ago
101.

Superman    

104. HELLOOOO people! America is an obese country-it's obvious- so we shouldn't discriminate against anyone. She's not heavy, these not a whale or a "teen mom" or a pig. Nobody should be treated like that or have to get seated according to what they look like. We've had obese people on American Idol and you don't see them not being able to perform because they're bigger than everyone else. So why shouldn't anything be different for audience members?

Posted at 11:48 PM on Apr 12, 2011 by Lexy
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I would agree people shouldn't be treated this way. However, you rarely see overweight females in movies, tv shows, commercials, news programs, etc. Where was your outrage before this?!? And AI would be sued if they discriminated against the contestants. Ashley can't sue because her tickets were free and she obviously didn't have a preassigned seat.

And I disagree with your assessment of what is "heavy" or overweight. A 5'2" 19-year-old girl should not weigh 150 to 160... pounds. If she doesn't change her lifestyle, including her diet and exercise, then her weight problem will only get worse when she gets older. As a friend, you should be concerned for her health! She needs to lose about 30 to 40 pounds. Her BMI is about 28 to 30...which means she's overweight to borderline obese. That's not healthy at any age, especially for a teen.

1256 days ago
102.

Superman    

108. Lucky for me, I am not ugly or fat and was dresses to the nines. So obviously both times my husband and I sat front row in camera view. It's Hollywood! If you are fat and ugly why would you even want your face on tv? I certainly don't want to see you. I may sound harsh but it is reality. Don't tell me you watch tv to see ugly fatties on-screen.

Posted at 12:46 AM on Apr 13, 2011 by Moi
---------------------

You reap what you sow. So, don't be surprised that you wake-up one day "fat and ugly" with your condescending, snobbish attitude.

1256 days ago
103.

Diane    

If it was the case of a better seat; Why didn't A.I. make mention of that instead of making the reason her body description? This girl is beautiful, healthy looking and not big at all. She is not a girl who looks like she is on "pills" and anorexic which is what I hate seeing the "media" promoting. I think she was very humble in her interview. Let a girl be told she is too skinny looking and be put in the back and watch what happens.

1255 days ago
104.

norris    

GMA/ABC who is all about self promotion like dancing w/ stars and other ABC shows today included this IDOL story as one of lead pieces. ABC hates to report positive pieces about the success of Fox and its IDOL series. Their jealousy is blantant.

1255 days ago
105.

Notagirlygirl    

Not everyone is a size 2! Just because some people a have a little extra "meat on their bones" doesn't mean that they should be hidden from the world! They are people too and should receive the same amount of respect as everyone else.

1255 days ago
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