King of Mean Simon Cowell is facing a legal tango with a husky-voiced former nurse who claims Cowell humiliated her during her audition on Britain’s Got Talent last year.
The ex-American Idol judge was informed this week that a former contestant by the name of Emma Czikai has lodged a $3.7 million lawsuit against him, claiming the music mogul and acid-tongued critic violated the UK’s Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 when he called her a bad singer on national television.
Czikai was confident that she would get through the first round on the popular talent show. “I do have the ability to move people. People have cried when they have heard me sing,” she told BGT cameras just moments before she met Simon and fellow judges Piers Morgan and Amanda Holden.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the self-professed “opera singer” butchered her rendition of Josh Groban’s “You Raised Me Up.”
Czikai suffers from cervical spone neuritis, which can affect hearing. The former medical professional believes that the show failed to take her illness into account before slamming her performance — although it isn’t known if any of the judges were made aware of it. She says her performance — broadcast in May 2009 — suffered as a result of her disability.
Czikai further charges that she was the victim of disability discrimination because the talent show did not make adjustments for her such as lowering the music and microphone levels. Emma believes that BGT contestants are routinely humiliated, bullied into saying things they didn’t mean and goaded to become angry and frustrated to make good television show.
“This story is the truth behind the joke. They made one big joke out of me. They put it on the YouTube and sold it in 30 countries. The whole world is saying: ‘This stupid woman’s a laugh,’” Emma spat to The Mail this week. “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,” she added.
Czikai is seeking $458,064 for her injured feelings, compensation of $1.51 million and loss of earnings of $1.89 million – although she says if she were awarded any money it would go to charity.
“This program 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.”