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Girl Deemed "Too Fat" For American Idol's Front Row

Illustration for article titled Girl Deemed Too Fat For iAmerican Idol/is Front Row

Ashley Kauffman and five of her girlfriends were excited when they recieved tickets to a taping of their favorite show. But the excitement turned into embarrassment when they arrived at the show when American Idol employees suggested that the 19-year-old was too heavy to sit in the front row of the hit Fox show.

When she first entered the seating area, Kauffman claims a woman who worked on the show told her she "was too big and too heavy" to sit in the front of the audience. Still, she and her friends made their way to the front, given that they had arrived early hoping to do just that. Once they arrived at the front of the arena, Kauffman recalled a man who "looked me up and down and said 'Oh, it makes sense why you're not with the skinny girls — you guys are in the back row.'"

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American Idol released an official statement on the matter:

"The seats were in two groups of three — she and her remaining party were seated just four rows behind her friends, directly in camera shot, in some of the best seats in the house."

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As someone who spent a year seating an audience for a late night talk show, I can tell you that we absolutely would have had to separate a group of six people — the size of Kauffman's group — and that we would warn groups of this beforehand. One can also argue that tickets to the show are free, and thus don't guarantee special seating, but a free ticket absolutely doesn't excuse the behavior of the people who seated Kauffman. I cannot imagine having the audacity to tell someone they were too large to sit in the front of the audience.

Contrary to what Kauffman believes people think about her, it's not about money, attention, or the press — all she really wants is an apology from Idol. "Most of all, I dont want this to happen to anybody else," she says.

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DISCUSSION

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Phyllis Nefler

Wrong. Not surprising, but still wrong. I know it doesn't work this way, but you should be sat according to the order in which you arrived.

I tried to let my husband sit on the end when we went to a taping of Letterman, because he was so excited to be there, and they made us switch. They didn't do an up the aisle shot, but they did pan the audience so we were both seen anyway.

The best audience story I have is actually about my mom. She went to a taping of The View a year ago. Justin Bieber was a guest and they made her go stand at the back of the pack of screaming tween girls when he sang. She has no clue why they made a middle age lady who bears a striking resemblance to Judy Dench go stand and cheer for the Biebs, but the image alone is enough to make me crack up.