Two judges on New Zealand's X Factor have been fired for "bullying" a contestant live on air after a diatribe that makes Simon Cowell look encouraging.
Husband-and-wife duo Natalia Kills and Willy Moon were sacked by MediaWorks, the owner-operator of TV3, the network that airs X Factor New Zealand, for their "destructive tirade" on Sunday evening.
Kills criticised a 25-year-old contestant, Joe Irvine, on Sunday's show for allegedly stealing her husband's look "from the hair to the suit". She called him "disgusting" and "creepy" and asked: "Do you not have any value or respect for originality?"
Despite the obvious discomfort of their fellow judges and booing from the audience, Moon joined in, likening Irvine to "Norman Bates dressing up in his mother's clothing" before suggesting he might murder the crowd.
Mark Weldon, chief executive of MediaWorks, which owns and operates TV3 - the channel that broadcasts the show - said on Monday afternoon the pair would no longer be welcome on the hit reality show.
'Last night on X Factor both Kills and Moon made comments that were completely unacceptable,' he said.
'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.
'Contestants put their all into this competition and they should expect to receive feedback and criticism that is professional and constructive.
'We no longer have confidence that Kills and Moon are the right people to perform the role of X Factor judges and they will leave the show, effective immediately.'
Two new judges are said to replace Moon and Kills next week, while Blatt and fellow judge Stan Walker will take over on Monday night.