Simon Cowell Says He Was “Protecting” Cheryl Cole By Kicking Her Off X-Factor

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It probably shouldn’t be a surprise that Simon Cowell‘s public apology after firing Cheryl Cole from the American X Factor is more than a little condescending. Turns out he was “protecting” the Girls Aloud singer by ejecting her from the judges’ table weeks into her first big stateside gig, after three years of judging on the British show. “I’m sorry. I hope we’re still close friends,” he told The Sun. “She’s still a star. The hardest thing to accept is that everyone has painted me as a monster because I embarrassed her. But the truth was I was protecting her. I just want people to be in the best place at the right time.” Apparently, that place was not America, and not anywhere near Paula Abdul.

While he admits Cole told him she was upset, Cowell appears to be showing his usual brusque manner over the slight. “‘This was never personal or saying you were terrible’. It wasn’t that she was terrible—she was good. I just thought she’d be happier in the UK. We noticed she was quieter than normal. The feeling was that she was slightly out of her comfort zone in America. The intention was to do it quietly and say to her she had an option to rejoin the UK show. At the end of the day we were saying, ‘Move to another show for even more money’. There was an offer of around £2.5million on the table including bonuses. How is that sacking someone?” With Cole’s friends claiming she only tried the American show as a favor to Cowell in the first place, it seems unlikely his claims of concern will dismiss the bad buzz following her exit. Will America be turned off by the firing of a celebrity they never really knew in the first place?

[Photo: Getty Images]

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