After ploughing millions of pounds into his new Saturday night TV show Red or Black, Simon Cowell is thought to be ‘livid’ after the very first prize-winner was revealed to be an ex-con who was jailed for assaulting a woman.
The chest-baring music mogul is apparently furious that the debate surrounding whether Nathan Hageman should or should not be allowed to keep his £1,000,000 cash prize has engulfed the show at a time when it should have been basking in more positive publicity.
Cowell appeared in person to congratulate Hageman on Saturday night, but it has been revealed that although TV bosses new that the bricklayer had done time, they had been led to believe that it was for assaulting a man. It later emerged that the winner had been sent down for causing ABH to an ex-girlfriend, leaving a host of women’s groups enraged by ITV’s decision to allow Hageman to keep the cash.
“I’m desperate for this to be sorted out as soon as possible in the fairest possible way,” The Mirror quotes Cowell as saying. “I am doing everything in my power to bring that about so that people can get back to concentrating on the show.”
Before a source close to the show’s creator added: “It is felt a contribution to the person who suffered might be an appropriate way to address this problem. They need to stop the cheque, admit they made a bad error, apologise and move on.”
Another insider told The Sun: “Whilst producers were aware that Nathan had served a prison sentence for assault they were not fully aware of facts which have since emerged. As a result of this ITV is reviewing the background checks on all remaining contestants in the show.”
Meanwhile a spokeswomam for Woman’s Aid explained that the decision would not please female viewers.
“ITV should realise around 50 per cent of its viewers are women and one in four of those will have experienced domestic violence,” she said. “What kind of message does this decision send out to them? We would ask ITV to reconsider and donate a substantial amount to a domestic violence charity instead.”