A former X Factor contestant studied law so she could sue Simon Cowell’s company after the show ‘almost ruined my life,’ report says
Katie Waissel was a contestant on The X Factor in 2010, reaching the quarterfinals.Karwai Tang/Bruce Glikas/WireImage
A former X Factor contestant has told the Sunday Times she plans to sue Simon Cowell’s company.
Katie Waissel said she retrained as a lawyer so she could take legal action against Syco.
Waissel said she sought therapy for PTSD after The X Factor and that Syco failed her duty of care.
A former X Factor contestant retrained in law so she can sue Simon Cowell’s company over her experience on the show, a report has claimed.
Katie Waissel, 36, who appeared on the UK version of The X Factor in 2010, told the Sunday Times of London that she plans to take legal action against Syco Entertainment, claiming it failed in its duty to to offer a duty of care to her and other competitors.
She told the paper she received acid attacks and death threats after becoming a hate figure on the show, reaching the quarter-finals.
Waissel said she was not allowed to leave the house she lived in during live shows, barely ate or slept, and has since sought therapy and counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder.
She told the Sunday Times that last year she decided to enroll at BPP University in London and graduated with a postgraduate law degree. The qualification would allow her to work as a solicitor or take further training to become a barrister.
“There are so many of us who have been so blocked and it’s not fair, there’s been a huge imbalance in power,” Waissel told the paper. “I just wanted to be able to understand [the contracts] and to protect people from manipulation in the future.”
Waissel, who finished in seventh place, told the Sunday Times that she was paid a token £1 for appearing on the live shows, with contestants not legally classed as employees.
She said she planned to bring a civil negligence personal injury case against Syco Entertainment, of which Cowell is a director. According to the report, Waissel and her legal team had sent a letter of demand to the company.
Waissel will have to convince a judge to waive the three-year statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits.
The story continues
The X Factor was produced by Simco, a subsidiary of Syco, and Freemantle TV, which told the Sunday Times it had “strong measures” in place to support contestants, with “no time limit on aftercare after the show has aired”.
The X Factor made stars of contestants in both the US and the UK, including One Direction, Little Mix and Camila Cabello. But the show, which ended in the UK in 2018, has come under intense scrutiny for the way contestants were treated.
In August, an unnamed source told the Mirror that she and five other former contestants were in the process of approaching a law firm to take legal action against SyCo.
“Your mental well-being was in no one’s interest. We were just pawns in their game. When I came on the show I was confident, ambitious and charismatic,” the source told the paper. “Now I am extremely distrustful, emotional, nervous and full of anxiety.”
Syco and Freemantle did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.
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