Simon Cowell’s ‘Zero Tolerance For Bullying’ Comment On ‘AGT’ Wins The Irony Statement Of The Year

Samantha Agate
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Love him or hate him, Simon Cowell has been a major force in the entertainment industry for nearly two decades. You may have noticed that he has become a lot softer in recent seasons of reality competition shows he is a part of. But he wasn’t always so forgiving. Simon made a name for himself after his blunt critiques and outspoken personality made headlines on shows like American Idol. And just because he is more of a lovable personality in front of the cameras now does not mean he is off the hook for bullying people in the past, including former America’s Got Talent judge Gabrielle Union.

During The Spyros Bros audition in season 15 of America’s Got Talent, Marco shared his story about how he was born with a delayed language disability. He was bullied for most of his childhood. After Marco shared this with the audience, Simon said, “There is a zero-tolerance on this show for bullying.”

Simon Cowell Started Off As A Brutal Judge For Reality Talent Competitions

Whether it was harsh comments towards contestants on American Idol or America’s Got Talent, Simon never held anything back. In 2015, Simon told X Factor contestant Max Stone “You look if you don’t mind me saying so like you’re half-dead.” Mind you, this was before Stone even started singing. That just shows the caliber of savagery that Simon has achieved after all these years. In 2009, Britain’s Got Talent singer Hollie Steel accused Simon of being a bully. She was just 10 years old at the time shared her story about how she was being picked on at school and Simon criticizing her appearance during her performance did not make her feel good. “Simon is a bully. He was very mean to me. He might have thought it was funny but it’s lonely up there on that stage on your own,” she told Digital Spy.


In 2011, another contestant Misha B appeared on The X Factor UK. She accused the judges including Cowell of bullying her and making her out to be a bad person. “They saw an opportunity to tear down a black girl that came from a broken home and worked together to assassinate my character and to sabotage my career by orchestrating lies,” she said of her time on the show. Misha also posted two Instagram videos recently about how her time on the show turned into such a negative experience. She hopes the Black Lives Matter movement is can make real changes, especially in the workplace. We are sure that people are wondering whether or not there was a zero-tolerance policy for bullying on ‘BGT’ nine years ago, and the answer is that there should have been.

Simon Has Also Came Under Fire After Gabrielle Union’s Discrimination Allegations

Gabrielle was fired from America’s Got Talent after only one season as a judge on the show. She filed a formal complaint about Simon and other NBC executives for mistreating her during her time on the show. About Simon in particular, she said that he would smoke directly next to her on the soundstage causing her to fall extremely ill. She did make it known to producers that she is allergic to cigarette smoke. Union said that Simon smoking on set was an example of a literal toxic work environment and she “ended up staying sick for two months straight.” This was a violation of the California law that bans smoking in the workplace. Gabrielle cited this as one of several acts of bullying in the workplace along with racial discrimination.


Gabrielle hopes to hold NBC accountable for these allegations and wants to work on making workplaces more comfortable for people of color. For her it has been more enlightening getting over the fallout from ‘AGT’ and it has even influenced her to work on other projects. She is building her own production company based on inclusivity in the workplace and she might be seeing Simon in court soon. So naturally, after hearing in the recent ‘AGT’ episode that the show has a zero-tolerance policy for bullying, it was quite ironic. Simon made sure he emphasized this immediately after Gabrielle accused him and other NBC employees of bullying her.

How Has Fatherhood Changed Simon’s Perspective On Bullying?

Fatherhood has definitely been a huge factor in Simon’s change of personality on television. When watching child acts or sentimental performances, he often related it to his son or mentions that his son would love the act. Simon even said in the past that he worries that his own son, 6-year-old Eric may be bullied at some point during his time at school. He certainly does have a soft side, especially when it comes to acts that have an emotional story. For someone like Tyler Butler-Figueroa who got Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer, a lot of his story had to do with how he battled cancer and was bullied at school. This clearly resonated with Simon who became a fan from day one. He even revealed after pushing the Golden Buzzer for bullied contestant Fayth Ifel on Britain’s Got Talent that he too has been bullied in the past.

The Truth About Simon’s Zero Tolerance Policy

It is definitely a toss-up about whether or not Simon is a bully or merely stands up for bullies. There are definitely times where a zero-tolerance policy on shows like America’s Got Talent was not completely apparent due to the nature of some of his comments towards contestants. And there are other times where he shows that he actually does have a heart when other people share their stories of bullying. The Gabrielle Union drama definitely adds a lot of question marks to what goes on behind the scenes of these reality talent competitions and how Simon acts when the cameras are off. In any case, there is certainly a ton of ironic moments here and that’s not even mentioning half of the savage things Simon has said on television.


Definitely let us know what you think about this zero-tolerance policy for bullying on America’s Got Talent. Do you think Simon Cowell said that to throw some shade at the Gabrielle Union situation or does he genuinely mean it?

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