A contestant on the last series of Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) competition is reportedly suing the show and its makers, Syco Productions, for discrimination in a £250,000 lawsuit.
Philip Grimmer, 57, from Ilford, appeared on the programme last spring as a Madonna impersonator. Although making it all the way to the semi-finals stage of the competition, Mr Grimmer believes his treatment on the show damaged his chances of winning the BGT title and thee top prize of £100,000.
Mr Grimmer alleges that not only were judge Simon Cowell’s comments hurtful, but they were also discriminatory on a number of levels. On one occasion, Cowell is believed to have said:
“Here we have a hard of hearing and short-sighted Madonna.”
As Mr Grimmer is partially deaf and short-sighted, he is suing Cowell’s production company for disability discrimination, as well as accusing the show and its hosts, Ant and Dec, of age and sexual orientation bias. He is seeking £250,000 in lost earnings, due to the missed opportunity of winning the £100,000 and for any subsequent TV deals he may have been offered as the BGT winner.
Speaking of the defendants named in the lawsuit, Mr Grimmer says:
“I was singled out by these persons and received unfair and worse treatment and comments on the live TV show than other contestants.”
Syco Productions – who presumably have some level of commercial expenses or other professional insurance cover in place for these kinds of situations – is reportedly set to ‘vigorously defend’ the allegations, in what could be a lengthy and costly case for both parties.