The X-Factor's Bullying Of Ceri Rees Has Crossed A Very Dangerous Line

On Sunday night a clearly delusional woman from Wales was wheeled out to be laughed at by the nation, and the news that X Factor bosses pursued her crosses a line that should be set in granite…
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At around 8.45 on Sunday night, for the closing performance of the X Factor's final audition show, the producers wheeled out a woman clearly suffering a low mental age, shopping trolley, Esso flowers and all, to be laughed at by the nation. Like a crippled deer in front of a juggernaut, she stood there, dazzled by the occasion and was mocked by a crowd resembling the bastard offspring of Macbeth's three witches and the partizan denizens of a Roman Amphitheatre.

It was horrible to watch and showed such a lack of compassion and basic humility that had it happened in a normal workplace whoever was responsible for allowing this segment to run should be, if not strung up, then handed their cards. But what is even more shocking than the actual events itself is that poor Ceri didn't turn up to audition, she was, according to her singing teacher, pursued by the Producers, offered money and essentially harangued until she felt she had no choice.

Back when the show first started, when it was a relative cottage industry compared to the cash fuelled monster that it has become, there was something of the DIY about it. In a room made from balsa wood partitions and discount carpet tiles, three judges grimaced, exalted and wept at the wannabes in front of them. Plenty were rubbish, but they were usually shuffled off after two minutes and sent on their way with a cuddle off Kate Thornton before being brought back, probably with a bit of cash thrown their way, to murder a song as a collective on the final show. It was voyeuristic, but it wasn’t bullying.

But this was different, no longer was she in a meeting room, she was wheeled out in front of thousands of people who laughed in her face as she counted herself in, three times, to the opening bars of I Dream A Dream.

The line wasn’t just crossed, it was lifted, remoulded into crosshairs and placed on the back of the head of mentally ill people across the country.

As she faltered for the second time my Stepson giggled as I squirmed. I didn’t reprimand him, but I did tell him that it wasn’t nice. “But everyone is doing it,” he replied. He was right and therein lies the problem. Those in the crowd are to blame on a personal level, but all they are really doing is showing a basic human flaw and acting as sheep and following the crowd. The bloodthirsty wolf was, of course, whoever contacted Ceri and asked her to come back on the show and then, even after watching the rough rushes of the show, decided that this was entertainment, an ill, tone-deaf woman paraded to the nation and near-forced to sing for the most disgusting of suppers for nothing more than a ratings spike.

I, and probably you, have been called all manner of names in my life. A bastard when my parents split up, a Romanian orphan when I used to shave my head, a big nosed twat etc, it might burn but I’m a big enough bloke in charge of most of my faculties and can either take it on the chin or fight back. So should a fat butcher from Burnley go on the show, sing like a strangled cat and get told he should stick by jointing chickens, he knows what he’s getting himself into.

Ceri didn’t, Ceri thinks she can sing, she doesn’t hear what the rest of us hear, and if that is true of a lot of the contestants, it is only on a very small level. This was just fucking horrible. Impressionable kids watch this programme, you might argue that their parents should be teaching them a moral code but as we know that isn’t often the case it is down to the media to show a certain level of responsibility. Gary Barlow sickeningly played to the gallery and said something about ‘a really long intro,’ using cheap one liners to gain a few more Take That record sales while a woman, lost in her head, stood there and wondered why a stadium full of people were laughing at her.

The line wasn’t just crossed, it was lifted, remoulded into crosshairs and placed on the back of the head of mentally ill people across the country.

And that is a fucking disgrace.

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