X Factor judges Natalia Kills and Willy Moon have been fired after they humiliated a contestant on the TV show.
Kills accused contestant Joe Irvine of copying her husband Moon’s style, branding Irvine a “laughing stock” and that he made her “sick”.
Moon then followed with a Norman Bates reference, saying he felt Irvine was “cheap”, “creepy” and that “it feels like you’re going to stitch someone’s skin to your face and kill everybody in the audience”.
Kills and Moon were immediately under fire from the New Zealand public. Petitions and Facebook pages were set up with supporters rallying to get the judges fired from the show.
Within 24 hours, MediaWorks, the owners of TV3, announced that they had sacked the pair.
“Both Kills and Moon made comments that were completely unacceptable,” said Mediaworks chief executive Mark Weldon.
“While the judges on X Factor are expected to provide critiques of the performances, we will not tolerate such destructive tirades from any of the judges.”
Celebrities from New Zealand and around the world showed their support for the decision.
@jooe63_joe don’t worry about what anyone else says man. Enjoy yourself with it, that’s what singing is about, not what other people think
— Ed Sheeran (@edsheeran) March 16, 2015
Can’t stop myself from commenting on NZ X factor situation because I can’t stop thinking about how mean it was. Thank goodness they’re gone — Ellie Goulding (@elliegoulding) March 16, 2015
Video: Watch the moment the now axed judges bullied a contestant on live TV
Former X Factor Judges land in Los Angeles
Kills and Moon have arrived in Los Angeles from New Zealand and were met by media at the airport.
The pair were still dressed in black, and continued to defend themselves.
“I feel like everyone needs to put the idea of it being a manufactured conspiracy theory behind them, there’s really nothing to it,”, Kills said.
“I love my husband with all my heart, we’ll stick together no matter what.”
She continued:”There are many sides to this story and I’m not about to get an entire industry in trouble that has been going on for years and years entertaining the masses, so thank you absolutely everyone for your support, thank you to all of my fans, thank you to my husband.”
“I would like to wish Joe Irvine and my boy’s category all the best on the show.”
Two new judges are going to be announced today, who will join X Factor in time for the Sunday and Monday live shows.