Former X Factor star Rebecca Ferguson has said she has “lived through hell” as she took aim at ITV for allegedly refusing to investigate its reality TV shows.
The I Hope singer claims she has broken “multiple NDAs” – or non-disclosure agreements that bind someone not to reveal certain information – to describe her experience.
She claims she emailed ITV’s chief executive Carolyn McCall directly to look into “codes of conducts, post show aftercare and freedom of choice of management”, which was declined.
ITV’s chief operating officer, Sarah Clarke, instead replied to apologise for her experience and assure the company’s commitment to “follow a Duty of Care Charter”, she claims.
X Factor, which was cancelled in 2021 after running for 17 years, was broadcasted by ITV and made by the Thames and Syco production companies.
In a statement responding to the claims made, ITV said it had “stressed that the welfare of participants is of the highest priority at ITV” in correspondence with Ferguson.
“I’m bound by multiple NDA’s but I cannot continue to not live in my full truth, being silent is worse I’ve lived through hell for years,” she wrote on Twitter.
Ferguson, 36, finished in second place on X Factor in 2010 and went on to produce several top 10 albums, before announcing in 2021 that her fifth album in 2023 would be her last.
In her 2021 statement, she said she will instead focus on “fighting for better treatment” and “nurturing emerging artists.”
On Twitter on Tuesday night, she described a “traumatic experience away from the cameras” in 2010 and “witnessed some terrible foul play.”
She said she was required to sign two contracts – one for management and one for recording – and claimed she was “told in no uncertain terms” that if I didn’t sign them there and then I would be kicked off the show.”
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“Not only did I not know the management team I was being made to sign to, I had not been given a copy of the terms and conditions of the contract – just purely the signature page,” she said.
“Furthermore, I didn’t have any access to independent legal advice or a solicitor.”
She condemned this as a “total abuse of power” towards her 23-year-old self.
Ms Ferguson added that she requested Ofcom - the TV regulator - to investigate on March 21, 2021, but was refused.
ITV said they had responded with information from producers “detailing their arrangements regarding welfare, aftercare, legal advice, and management.”
A spokesperson said: “ITV is committed to having in place suitable processes to protect the mental health and welfare of programme participants.
“We have continued to evolve and strengthen our approach, and we expect all producers of commissioned programmes to have in place appropriate procedures to look after the mental health of programme participants as well as their physical safety.
“Those processes and procedures will differ from programme to programme, to ensure that the welfare of all participants in ITV programmes is appropriately safeguarded.
“Whilst the practical detailed processes required to manage participant welfare in each programme must sit with producers themselves, ITV as a broadcaster and commissioner of content provides guidance on what we consider to be best practice: in the selection of participants before filming, in supporting them during filming, and in continued support up to and after the broadcast of the programme.
“In our correspondence with Rebecca we stressed that the welfare of participants is of the highest priority at ITV as reflected in our Duty of Care Charter and the detailed guidance, introduced in 2019, we now have available for all producers, to ensure that the welfare of participants is adequately safeguarded on all our programmes.
“ITV responded to Rebecca with information provided to us by the producers, detailing their arrangements regarding welfare, aftercare, legal advice, and management, at the time of her participation.”
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