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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 3

Simon Cowell denies making obscene gesture during 'American Idol'

By Wade Paulsen, 03/25/2004 

We never thought we'd be in the position of defending obnoxious American Idol judge Simon Cowell. But this is ridiculous.

In the manner of post-WWII anti-Communists who believed there was "a Red in every bed." some people are finding offensive behavior on TV everywhere they look ... and right now they are looking at Simon Cowell.

The Drudge Report, which is generally a political publication, reports that some people believe that the position of Simon's middle finger while he was resting his head on his hand (shown in this picture on the site) was a deliberate attempt on Simon's part to make an obscene gesture during an acrimonious debate on Tuesday night's American Idol. The Drudge Report quotes a "top Fox executive" as saying that "the gesture should not have aired," even though "it appeared he was simply resting his head on his middle finger."

We have a great deal of respect for The Drudge Report, which has often been a crusading, muckraking journal -- and to which we are indebted for breaking the network embargoes on exit polls until after voting closes in a state -- but we think Matt Drudge is lost in a fog if he thinks that Simon needs to resort to making an obscene gesture to insult someone or to draw attention to himself.

USA Today reports that the Federal Communications Commission received two complaints about Simon's supposed gesture, and the FCC promised that "they'll be processed." We would like to suggest that the U.S. government might be able to reduce the federal deficit if it "processed" these complaints by ignoring them, as they deserve.

Fox spokesman Scott Grogin denied that the network had ever considered editing the show, as Drudge's anonymous source reported. "[Fox's standards and practices department] found it to be nothing more than a benign body posture. [Simon] was resting his head on his hands," said Grogin.

For his part, Simon was unapologetic, telling show host Ryan Seacrest, "if it carries on like this, we're all going to be wearing boxing gloves on the show, just in case there's as they say any inappropriate gestures." Actually, considering some of the criticism that generally comes from Simon, we might be in favor of giving boxing gloves to Simon and the contestants anyway and letting them "duke it out." Heck, maybe one of the failed Idol wannabes could earn a place on Mark Burnett's upcoming The Contender.

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