Rebecca Ferguson Calls Simon Cowell’s X Factor UK ‘Terrifying’

Rebecca Ferguson

X Factor UK alum Rebecca Ferguson accuses ITV of ignoring her complaints about Simon Cowell’s show

Rebecca Ferguson, a former runner-up on The X Factor UK, has taken to social media to criticize ITV after the UK broadcaster failed to investigate her “traumatic” experience on the Simon Cowell produced talent show.

The singer posted a series of tweets that appear to be an email that she sent to ITV CEO Carolyn McCall in 2021 detailing “terrible foul play” on The X Factor UK.

Rebecca has previously sounded alarms about her experience on the show, but after allegations came to light about the toxic culture on the ITV daytime show, This Morning, she’s circling back, claiming the network never took her complaints seriously.

The thrust of Rebecca’s complaints, as she outlined in her 2021 letter to ITV are:

  • Contestants forced into contracts without independent legal advice.
  • Contestants mentally manipulated and abused while experiencing mental health problems.
  • Contestants reduced to tears due to pressure and bullying
  • Contestants forced to sign to a management company with no freedom of choice. They are told if they refuse, they’ll be kicked off the show
  • The show giving contestants accountants who are not independent and don’t have the contestants’ best interests.

Rebecca writes more about her complaints HERE and HERE. At 23, the singer finished as runner-up in 2010, the same season One Direction competed and came in third place.

The singer wrote on Twitter that “On the 24th March 2021, ITV COO Sarah Clarke came back apologising about any personal bad experiences but declining to investigate any further – assuring that there is commitment to have these procedures in place already and insisting that they follow a Duty of Care Charter.” Rebecca insists that what an independent inquiry would find would be “beyond terrifying.”

How ITV Responded to Rebecca’s claims

ITV responded: “In our correspondence with Rebecca we stressed that the welfare of participants is of the highest priority at ITV as reflected in our Duty of Care Charter and the detailed guidance, introduced in 2019, we now have available for all producers, to ensure that the welfare of participants is adequately safeguarded on all our programmes. ITV responded to Rebecca with information provided to us by the producers, detailing their arrangements regarding welfare, aftercare, legal advice, and management, at the time of her participation.”

The company added: “ITV is committed to having in place suitable processes to protect the mental health and welfare of programme participants. We have continued to evolve and strengthen our approach, and we expect all producers of commissioned programmes to have in place appropriate procedures to look after the mental health of programme participants as well as their physical safety.

“Those processes and procedures will differ from programme to programme, to ensure that the welfare of all participants in ITV programmes is appropriately safeguarded. Whilst the practical detailed processes required to manage participant welfare in each programme must sit with producers themselves, ITV as a broadcaster and commissioner of content provides guidance on what we consider to be best practice: in the selection of participants before filming, in supporting them during filming, and in continued support up to and after the broadcast of the programme.”

It’s not the first time a Simon Cowell produced show has been accused of tolerating a toxic atmosphere. In 2019 after actress Gabrielle Union was fired after a single season as a judge, she detailed a list of problems, including racism and toxic behaviors. She eventually settled a lawsuit with NBC.

About mj santilli 34998 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!