'Humiliated' British talent show reject sues TV show: report
A rejected contestant on a hit British television talent show is suing the programme after claiming she was subjected to "humiliation" and "degradation" by the judges, it was reported Thursday.
Emma Amelia Pearl Czikai, 54, fell foul of acid-tongued judge Simon Cowell when she sang a pop song on "Britain's Got Talent", in an episode broadcast to millions of television viewers in May 2009.
In the acerbic style that has made media mogul Cowell famous in Britain and the United States, the judge dismissed her "horrible singing voice" and she left the stage to chants from the crowd of "off, off".
Now Czikai is trying to have her complaint heard at an employment tribunal, although lawyers for the show opposed her efforts at a pre-tribunal review in London on Wednesday, the Daily Mail tabloid reported.
She is seeking a total of 2.5 million pounds (3.8 million dollars, 3 million euros) for injured feelings, compensation and loss of earnings.
"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," Czikai told the hearing, according to the Daily Mail.
She claimed she was the victim of disability discrimination because she suffers from fibromyalgia, a condition characterised by widespread pain and exhaustion, and could not sing in noisy raucous environments.
"I haven't got a horrible singing voice when I sing in a fair environment that meets the needs of my particular disabilities," Czikai said.
Thomas Linden, the lawyer representing Cowell's TV company Simco, opposed Czikai's right to have a full hearing at the tribunal, arguing the TV show was not an employer and staff had no prior knowledge of her disabilities.
The hearing continues.
© 2010 AFP