American Idol producers have leaped to the defense of competition judge Simon Cowell over reports he rolled his eyes during a contestant's tribute to the students of Virginia Tech University on Tuesday's show.
Internet sites went crazy after the incident with critics accusing judge Cowell of being insensitive to singer Chris Robinson's message to friends caught up in the aftermath of Monday's campus massacre.
The British music mogul was caught making a sarcastic gesture as Robinson said, "My hearts and prayers go out to Virginia Tech. I have a lot of friends over there... Be strong", but Cowell insisted his actions were directed at fellow judge Paula Abdul, whom he was having a conversation with.
The 47-year-old - who offered his "best wishes" to the Virginia Tech students on Tuesday night's show - has now issued another denial to distance himself from the controversy, saying, "I may not be the nicest person in the world, but I would never disrespect those families or victims."
And executive producers of the hit talent contest, Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe, were quick to offer their support to Cowell. Warwick says, "He would be the biggest fool on television if he did that. And he's not a fool, believe me."
Lythgoe adds, "This is a sad time for everyone, so it is especially disheartening that a quick camera cutaway could have been misinterpreted."
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