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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 9

Elisabeth Hasselbeck says 'American Idol' premiere was offensive


By Christopher Rocchio, 01/13/2010 

Elizabeth Hasselbeck said she was "truly bothered" by the "incredibly offensive" way American Idol portrayed a female ninth-season hopeful during last night's premiere broadcast on Fox.

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The incident occurred after Lisa Olivero, a 24-year-old waitress from Billerica, MA who had been overly confident in her singing ability, was rejected by American Idol's judging panel following her Boston audition.

As Olivero was leaving the room, the episode's footage ran in slow motion with a sultry jazz song playing in the background. Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell were shown with their jaws hanging while guest judge Victoria Beckham outlined Olivero's figure with her hands.

"Unbelievable," whispered Cowell to Beckham.

"On second thought," added Jackson.

When the clip from the episode was played during Wednesday's The View's broadcast, Jackson's comment brought laughs from the live studio audience.

"Now you laugh, but I found that to be incredibly offensive," said Hasselbeck. "I feel like it was objectifying her in a way that was unnecessary."

"You act like this is something American Idol doesn't do," responded co-host Sherri Shepherd. "They've been doing this since they got on the air."

"Just because they do it doesn't mean we can't call them out and say, 'That is wrong to do that,'" said Hasselbeck. "Lisa Olivero, I hope that you write them a nice letter with your attorney."

The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg said Hasselbeck had a "great point."

"We don't like it when it's done to people we know -- we don't like it when it's done to politicians, we don't like it when it's done to women," she said. "So you know what? You're absolutely right to call it out."

Shepherd then pointed out that Hasselbeck will still watch American Idol despite her objecting to its portrayal of Olivero.

"So will everybody else," responded Hasselbeck.

"I'm not talking about everybody else, I'm talking about you," said Shepherd.

"Let's reverse a little bit," said Hasselbeck excitedly.

"I have called out everything that I thought has been sexist, misogynistic, and I have gone on wide boycotts. Let me put out a warning: The producers at Fox, they should go back and not play things like that so women don't feel objectified or else we will start a national boycott."

Fellow co-host Joy Behar then said she was "fascinated" at how "delusional" Olivero was of her singing talent.

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