General News

Cowell sued for millions by failed talent show contestant

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Jul 22, 2010 | 5:00am EDT

Emma Czikai, who suffers cervical spine neuritis, auditioned for Cowell's Britain's Got Talent last year (09) but failed to make it through to the first round with her rendition of You Raise Me Up.

Czikai claims producers persuaded her to appear on spin-off show Britain's Got More Talent, but they didn't tell viewers she suffers from a spinal condition, making her look like a "fool" and prompting her to make a complaint with employment tribunal authorities.

On Wednesday (21Jul10) the 53 year old attended a pre-trial review in London to decide whether the tribunal should move forward - and it was revealed she has launched a lawsuit against Cowell and the show's production company Freemantle Media.

Czikai is seeking damages of $2 million (£1.3 million) in lost earnings, $1.5 million (£1 million) compensation and $450,000 (£300,000) for injuries.

She told the hearing, "The show makes a select number of people very rich on the backs of the ordinary man and woman... through backdoor modern slavery, ­exploitation, ­humiliation, ­degradation and modern-day barbarism with all its inherent cruelty.

"On the day of my audition I saw people leave the stage distressed and upset, feeling humiliated and degraded. Britain's Got Talent staff goaded people into states of anger, then captured their volatile responses on film."

Thomas Linden, a lawyer representing Cowell's Syco company, insisted there is no reason for the tribunal to go ahead - as Czikai was not employed by the show or the music mogul and that he was unaware of any disability.

The pre-trial review continues.

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