X Factor: why are former contestants suing Simon Cowell’s firm SyCo - what has he said, is the show returning?

Simon Cowell’s firm SyCo is facing a lawsuit from former X Factor contestants.Simon Cowell’s firm SyCo is facing a lawsuit from former X Factor contestants.
Simon Cowell’s firm SyCo is facing a lawsuit from former X Factor contestants. | Getty Images
Chico Slimani who was in the 2005 series of the X Factor has defended the show

Former X Factor star Chico has defended the show after it emerged Simon Cowell’s firm Syco was facing bullying claims from ex contestants.

The hit reality music show first aired in 2004 and was created by Simon Cowell and his company SyCo Entertainment.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It has made stars out of a variety of acts including Little Mix, JLS and One Direction.

However, a group of ex contestants are reportedly planning a lawsuit against Cowell’s firm SyCo

But what are the claims against SyCo, who has made the claims, what did Chico say, and how much could any lawsuit be worth?

What are the claims against SyCo and what has the firm said?

The Sunday Mirror reported that five solo acts and one group are approaching a law firm to sue SyCo.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They are claiming going on X Factor led to “bullying, mistreatment and neglect”.

One claimant told the Sunday Mirror : “Being on the show was a horrific experience. We’ve been suffering for years as a result. It’s awful.

“Myself and five former acts have agreed to join forces and get the justice we feel we deserve.

“Simon needs to take responsibility. We lost a lot of money from having periods of our lives not making money to deal with trauma still ingrained from the show.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They also said: “Lots of contestants are from underprivileged backgrounds so getting on the show was like a winning lottery ticket.

“You’re sold the dream, but once you’re off the show, you’re thrown into the world with very little after care.”

The Mirror also reported it had approached SyCo for comment and was asked to make clear there is no allegation showbiz supremo Cowell was in any way aware of, or personally involved in, the incidents or behaviour alleged by the group.

How much would the lawsuit be worth?

According to reports it could be worth in excess of £1million.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

What has the X Factor said?

A spokesman for X Factor said: “Welfare of those taking part is our No1 priority and we have robust measures and welfare teams in place to ensure support is always available.

“We are unaware of any legal claims being filed against The X Factor and despite not being on air for several years, we remain open to discuss concerns with anyone who chooses to do so.”

What has Chico said?

Chico Slimani, who appeared on the show in 2005 , became known for his saying “What time is it”, and later went on to release a hit song “It’s Chico time”, named after his catch phrase.

The 50-year-old who reached the quarter-final of the X Factor defended the show and speaking on GB News Breakfast he said: “In terms of my time on the show, I’ve got nothing to complain about in any way shape or form because we were looked after by our own mentors who gave us songs we all had to agree on.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“There was a consensus that you were happy to do that song. As far as I’m concerned when I hear this and the claims being made, it’s bewildering to me.”He added: “One thing I would say, is that the difference back in my day, seventeen years ago, was we didn’t have social media so that didn’t follow us around 24/7.

“But, regarding the wellbeing of people on the show at the time, I’ve got to say it was absolutely incredible. Simon actually said to me the show I was on was later used as a template for the other series which followed.”

Chico Slimani.Chico Slimani.
Chico Slimani. | Getty Images for MTV

Is the X Factor still on?

No, the fiftheenth and final series of the UK show aired in 2018. Spin-off series The X Factor: Celebrity and The X Factor: Band ran in 2019, before the show went on hiatus in 2020.

In a statement last year a spokesperson for ITV said there were “no current plans” for the next series of the show.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.