On Wednesday’s “X Factor,” judge Paulina Rubio told rocker contestant Jeff Gutt that she wanted to see him “show more blood” onstage. Yes, Paulina may suffer from a bit of a language barrier sometimes, but it was obvious she meant that metaphorically (as in the “blood, sweat, and tears” sense). Still, Simon Cowell took this as his opportunity to make a little joke. Except…it wasn’t even a little funny, especially to one of the other judges at the table.
“So, you want him to cut himself?” Simon quipped. And then Simon said it again. And again. “Basically, she wants you to stab yourself…Jeff, please do not cut yourself next week,” he remarked during his critique.
Of course, joking about cutting is probably never appropriate. But when you’re sitting next to someone with a well-known history of self-harm — i.e., Demi Lovato — it’s especially facepalm-worthy.
Demi remained surprisingly silent while Simon continued to shove his wingtipped foot deep into his mouth. But fans took to Twitter to defend the troubled ex-teen star (who has been very vocal about her past struggles with bipolar disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders, and yes, cutting) and make Simon aware of his gaffe.
I will keep tweeting you @SimonCowell until you say you shouldn’t have made comments on cutting its not okay. -Apologize-
— Demi Lovato Fans (@welovatoyoudemi) December 5, 2013
— Carolina Mellado (@caroodallem) December 5, 2013
@SimonCowell lets not joke about cutting, Demi is RIGHT THERE!
— Ashley Lovato ⚓❤ (@DemiMySexvato) December 5, 2013
— raïssa (@justinddl) December 5, 2013
@SimonCowell it’s one thing to playfully bicker with demi, but to make a cutting comment on national television when demi’s right there…..
— megan 93 (@fifthvato) December 5, 2013
Oh, yikes. Even in a season full of cringe-inducing moments (remember when Paulina called her contestant Josh Levi by a totally different name last week?), this was a doozy. It even made the fact that Jeff Gutt’s song, “Without You,” had just been introduced as being by Mariah Carey (when it was actually penned by Badfinger, and popularized by Harry Nilsson) totally forgivable.