American Idol fan claims she was ousted from 1st row for being heavy

This story has been happening at Radar Online for a few days but I didn’t know if any of you would be interested. I find it worth repeating now that the young woman at the center of it has gone on Good Morning America to tell her story. Ashley Kauffman, a 19 year-old American Idol fan, was banished from her front row seat during one of the competition shows when a staffer came by and told her to get the back because she was “too big and too heavy to be there.” Ashlee went with about six girlfriends, but she and two of her friends were told that they were being reseated. An usher took her ticket and contemptuously told them “It makes sense why you’re not with the skinny girls… you’re in the back row.”

Ashley wasn’t taking that and she’s been telling Radar Online about her mortifying experience and has now gone on national television. On GMA, Ashley clarified that she was sent to the back of her section five rows behind their other friends, not the back of the auditorium entirely. Idol issued a statement saying that their group had agreed to be separated as those seats at the front are hard to come by.

Ashley said that she is not out for money or fame and she just wants an “apology” and for it “not to happen to anyone else.”

I believe this girl. She seemed really upset and got choked up when she described how the woman looked at her like she was disgusting.

It seems like Idol isn’t a very welcoming place for larger female contestants, either. We’ve had Jennifer Hudson and Frenchie but were there even any larger women at Hollywood Week this year? I don’t remember anyone, but I could have just missed them. As ABC News points out, former judge Simon Cowell ridiculed season five contestant Mandisa over her weight, quipping “Do we have a bigger stage this year?” Cowell apologized later.

I doubt the Idol bigwigs are going to acknowledge this, but I bet you we’ll see some larger fans in the front row at the next taping. Just wait.




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63 Responses to “American Idol fan claims she was ousted from 1st row for being heavy”

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  1. Penguen says:

    Disgusting on Idol’s part. Ashlee deserves a public apology.

  2. honeychurch says:

    Well, Lauren Alaina isn’t all that skinny.. I cannot see the big fuss, tbh, and it sounds like sour grapes from the fan.

  3. Phillylady says:

    America has an obesity issue, but we block it from view because it is unsettling. Here is just another example of that. This young woman is speaking out about something I am sure many others deal with every day. Good for her. Sad that the health of this country is declining due to obesity, and that the entertainment industry would rather shame and insult people than just be real with it. Many many Americans are heavy. They should be able to sit where they want. If the public does not like seeing it than maybe we should all DO something so we dont have another generation growing up obese!

  4. cookb says:

    Forget American Idol!!!!! This girls is a cutie pie and smart and sweet!

  5. Ari says:

    I know this is going to sound awful but I am a thick girl myself but her HEAD…my god, its bigger than her whole body! Its like a playdoh head :L

  6. anoneemouse says:

    I would have told them that if they wanted my fat ass to move then they would have to move it for me.

  7. bunkins says:

    I see tons of fat people in the audience on AI. I don’t believe her.

  8. LindyLou says:

    I’m sorry – did I misunderstand? She was too heavy to WATCH the show from the front row?? Are you kidding me? Where the hell do they get off telling audience members where they can sit based solely on the way they look?? What the hell? I don’t get it. It’s the audience. Will the home audience stop watching if the studio audience isn’t “pretty”? How ridiculous!

  9. Les Moore says:

    She’s not really THAT fat, it’s not like she’s some 400 pounder.

  10. Mshuffleupagus says:

    I heard from a someone who works on an ABC show that audience shows always stick girls with huge racks in the back. *Clicks to video* Ok, that wasn’t the problem. I guess they’re just as$holes.

  11. moon says:

    I’m not bashing overweight persons, but this Ashley girl could lose weight and go back to this show and blow their minds when they ask her to sit in the front. What awesome payback.
    I was overweight as a teen, I lost weight through exercise and in my 20’s had the pleasure of saying NO to one of my high school tormentor’s when he asked me to dance with him, he didn’t recognise me at first and then tried to apologise for his crappy behaviour towards me. As far as I am concerned people should be treated the same, despite their weight.

  12. Roxy75 says:

    Keep it to yourself…sheesh. Everyone wants a minute of fame to complain. Get over it.

  13. lrm says:

    I know this is un-PC, but it’s called american ‘idol’…not american ‘talent’….ppl who have talent should not focus only on american idol, although that is one way to be discovered…
    but honestly, it’s about an image-
    at the same time, rueben and kelly clarkson are not exactly thin super ‘pretty’ people, so i’m not sure weight was her only issue.

    i have not heard her perform or seen the show in years….
    i’m just saying that idol implies image as much as talent.

    and they want to hoist sexy in a ‘thin’ way onto the public….i’m not even reading the comments on this thread-god it will turn into another ‘obsesity thread’ and a pseudo intellectual discourse about women’s bodies, self love and that other crap.

    the commetns on this topic always seem to be like it’s the first time the issue has been discussed in a thread on this blog.
    but it’s like the gazillionth.

    oh all women’s body types should be celebrated, models nad celebs should model healthy image to our youth, etc.

    well, guess what? they won’t.
    but you know what? you have to find it within. you cannot blame the media for everything. and certainly cannot blame ‘entertainment’ for not ‘modelling’ morality. it’s for ‘entertaining’, you k now?

    hey, many of us have overcome obstacles in our lives-even w/o role models-and have come to develop healthy self esteem and lifestyle.

    i say these AI people need to deal with it and move on to other venues….’life is not fair’ i did not get to move on in AI, must be b/c i’m fat….always an excuse. sounds like she is getting some PR out of this and that will increase her exposure. crafty, crafty.

  14. Wicked SteppMom says:

    #12 Roxy: Really? Would you be telling her to “Keep it to herself & Get over it” if they’d told her to move to the back b/c of the color of her skin? Didn’t think so. (I’m the palest person you’ll ever meet, BTW.) If she paid for a ticket, and was in the front row first, she has the right to be there, period. She also damn well should draw attention to discrimination, in any form.

  15. Isabel says:

    This makes my heart hurt for her. It’s an attack on her appearance…not even as a contestant, but as a fan? In the audience? How awful.

  16. Mshuffleupagus says:


    It probably would have been for the best if you had read the thread comments. Or, you know, the article. Maybe even the title? Nevermind, don’t worry about it.

  17. edvard says:

    ok, so let me get this straight–she won’t look so fat in the 5th row?

  18. didn’t she like pay money for her seat??? is this even legal??

  19. just watched the video, god, she’s not even that fat! not that if she were bigger it would have been okay to ask her to relocate. I just thought she must be like SOO heavy, like you know, some people are just plain obese

  20. WhatEver says:

    Yes, Wicked SteppMom, completely agree. Okay, I need to get back to work.

  21. Mia says:

    Classy, AI! So glad I don’t watch this show and never have.

  22. Yaya says:

    Maybe all the “fat” people should stop watching American Idol if they are not good enough for them? I don’t know. The producers might get upset that the viewers of this show are too heavy and still have the nerve to watch it, even when they are staying at home… I think that they should tell us in advance what the maximum weight of American Idol viewer should be so that we know.

  23. Amelia says:

    Not surprised in the least. A lot of shows now have an audience company when they need to fill seats 1iota. You have to upload you picture and if you’re not of the demographic or pleasing looking you don’t get tickets. Even for a place as large as Radio City Music Hall. Doesn’t matter if your a fan. They’d rather have a pretty actor in the seat.

  24. blc says:

    it seems to me like this girl just wants her 15 minutes of fame. even if it really did go down the way she says, why does she need to go on tv and tell the world that she is fat? and as for wicked stepmother, i absolutely hate it when people compare being fat to being black (or whatever race you were thinking). A person’s race is how they are born and they have no control over it. A person who is fat has a choice in that matter but chooses to live an unhealthy lifestyle. It is not even close to the same.

  25. curmudgeon says:

    Yes of course. The only REAL biggotry is perpetrated on people with lots of melanin in their skin. That is really ignorant and arrogant. And she isn’t telling the world she is fat dear. She is telling the world that she was treated like a pariah because she isn’t stick thin. You should really self edit before you spew.

  26. Catherine says:

    Another reason to keep from ever watching this show.

  27. JoGirl310 says:

    She’s adorable!

  28. Allison says:

    Oh wow, those American Idol staffers are disgusting. What a sweet girl. It’s a shame some people are so rude and shallow.

  29. soompi_er says:

    #13, Irm, as #16 Mshuffleupagus said, you need to read the article and the title of the article first; otherwise, your comment doesn’t quite make sense in relation to the article.

    Having watched her interview, she comes off truthful and believable. I don’t think she’s out for fame. She just wants to draw attention to the deplorable behavior of the AI staff–that such a behavior is being tolerated by the show/company.

  30. sorrento says:

    Helllooo, Randy Jackson, Dog! How can you sit back and let this happen?

  31. Steph says:

    What bugged me was that her father released some statement (I think on Radar) saying that he wanted a public apology for his daughter…

    That to me came off as attention grabbing behavior, when I say that I mean they want more attention!
    I don’t understand the thought behind that…but then again that is just me. I think if I was in her shoes I’d be happy just to be there.FOR FREE!

  32. fizXgirl314 says:

    I hope she sues… I really do. that’s the only way to make these people feel “sorry”… this country (and the rest of the world in fact) have started picking on americans for weight… it’s becoming a little ridiculous at this point.

  33. TXCinderella says:

    It is sad to see when an overweight person is discrimnated against like that. It’s almost as if people assume that an overweight person doesn’t have feelings, or that they are a lazy slob. People can be so cruel.

  34. TeeTee says:

    I’ve seen heavier people in the front rows before–I don’t beleive her.

  35. Sugar says:

    You don’t actually pay for a seat, you just pay to get it.

    Obviously they are going to put the most attractive beets up front, they’re the money beets.

    I don’t believe anyone actually said anything derogatory to her. People getting the seats filled don’t have time for bitch-fights.

  36. dudslove says:

    @Mshuffleupagus re: lrm

    ha ha good one — i was thinking the same exact thing!

  37. anon33 says:


    The money beets! ahahahahahahahahahahaha

  38. Crystalline says:

    @blc Thanks for the reminder that myself and many others are just lazy and choose to be fat! I’ll be sure to stick that note up on my wall so I know why I’m overweight.

    Lord, do we all have to turn into GOOP the second weight comes up?

  39. gee says:

    she kind of looks like a frond. American Idol can rot tho, that was rude.

  40. Kiska says:

    She is NOT fat! I’ve seen people bigger than her sitting in the front row of AI so I’m not sure I believe the story.

  41. Shy says:

    I didn’t get it. So they asked to move 3 people and all of them were overweight? And other 3 of her friends were skinny? Or they just move 3 people and one of them was overweight? And if one of them would be black then she would run to media screaming that they are racist and kicked her out because she is black? Or one of them would be american-latino then she would run to press screaming that they hate latino people? Or one of them would be american-russian girl then she would scream that they hate russian people? Or one of them would be american-asian girl then she would scream that they hate asian people? You can go like this forever.

    That’s really disgusting how they all run to press for attention whenever they (people who watch reality TV too much and want glimpse of fame. Like that balloon boy dad) have a little reason. She want’s apology… Right. That’s why you scream that they put you in the dark corner and when the truth comes out that you were moved just few rows you quickly say that you didn’t sad that.

    Funny. Overweight people begin to throw that “racial” card just like afro-american people say “you hate me because I’m black” every time they don’t get what they want. If some ordinary girl would be asked to move (which probably happens at the Idol’s too) – she would quietly move. And would not run to tabloid site to scream: “They hate me because I’m skinny”.

  42. KIM says:

    remember that chick from Glee was “too big” for AI too.

    It’s not new for American Idol to discriminate against a variety of people. Don’t like it don’t support/watch the show.

    I don’t watch because the show is not important, or interesting, to me. To each their own . . .

  43. Jess says:

    @Ari (5): You’re right, that does sound awful, because it is.

  44. Bopa says:

    Happens a lot. I remember the people who complained after being segregated in Tyra’s audiences.

  45. harfang says:

    Given that she’s a fan and went to some trouble to be there (for free and all), they’d better freaking apologize. It’s one thing for them to treat the contestants as though they’re lucky to be sweating in the judges’ shadows — ultimately, they are. But people like this are the reason those snots have a job.

  46. kazoo says:

    i don’t believe her. well, i believe that they didn’t put her in the front row because of how she looks, but i don’t believe that they actually told her WHY they were putting her there. one of her friends (who was also denied front row seating) also said she didn’t hear anyone say these things.

  47. Lyla says:

    @celebitchy. I have to respectfully disagree with your opinion. I think that the girl is absolutely lying. I do believe her when she said that moved her but I don’t believe her that they said all of those things. I also think that she’s probably insecure about her weight and she might automatically assume people are out to get her because of her weight.

  48. MaudeLebowski says:

    I do believe her. I saw her talking about it and she was hurt and genuine.

    “I don’t believe anyone actually said anything derogatory to her. People getting the seats filled don’t have time for bitch-fights.”

    *Eyeroll* Oh please.
    That sort of person is in-your-face nasty because they get a genuine kick out of causing pain. They will always make time for that.

  49. Jackie says:

    She actually should lose weight, she is too heavy for her age

  50. Zelda says:

    @Lyla @Shy

    I’m inclined to agree. At least doubt the story. I have a hard time believing anyone would be stupid enough to say “it’s cuz you’re fat, fatty” when moving her. Simply because they do not have to give her a reason. So–just before a large-scale live television show, while they are rushing and running to get set up and have people yelling at each other over walkie talkies to do this now, get there then, take care of such and such asap…I’m supposed to believe that they took a moment to give her information they were not required to give her, and that it was information that would be knowingly offensive, to boot? Really? Something fishy about that.

    Also, I had to shut that video off halfway through: “aaaaaaaannd she looked amme like I was really disgusting lookiiiiing?…soooooo I hadda go to the other seeat? aaaaaaannnnd…the reporters probly wanned to make it a lil more juicieeer? or whateverrrr..”

    I know she’s 19 but crikey. She’s not 12.

    hahahahah! Very nice.
    I miss when that show was funny.

  51. gobo says:

    @Moon; I really do not think that would be a good or healthy way for her to validate herself. In fact I think it would be a terrible idea. What was good for you was your tormentor coming to you and you then rejecting them. What your talking about is her going back to her tormentor and them possibly rejecting/not noticing. Not the same. Also she’d be reinforcing their ludicrous point.

  52. Shy says:

    @Lyla: I do have the feeling too that she is insecure with her weight and look and automatically thinks that people hate her because of her weight. And sees that “disgusting” look in every person. From waitress to her teacher to her neighbor.

    I don’t really think that some worker can give her “oh you are so disgusting” look. That worker live in USA where half of the people are overweight and she sees them every day. She can’t go all days long given her “disgusting” look every 30 seconds.

  53. Leticia says:

    She is pretty and I’m sorry that she was treated badly. However, I cannot understand how some of the posters above are saying that she is not fat.

  54. Flan says:

    @Steph, come on, the father is just furious about how his daughter was insulted. It’s a normal reaction, he didn’t ask financial compensation or anything.

  55. That girl says:

    Shame AI! She is gorgeous!

  56. TheMango says:

    Personally, I don’t watch American Idol, as its more about, like someone says, idolization than talent (funny how other than Kelly Clarkson, none have really gained much attention. And even KC seems frustrated with her management plus I haven’t heard anything new from her in ages. Anyways back to this weight issue, this is why I don’t like AI, its all about the image. Meh. They can go suck it. Good for this girl to stick up and stand for this issue.

  57. Julie says:

    Sigh. First off, for those who are saying that being overweight is a “choice”, I’d like to remind you that there are some medications/conditions that make it very difficult for people to lose weight, no matter how much they might want to, or how hard they’re working at it.

    But honestly, even if you do believe weight is a “choice”, I’m not sure why that makes it okay to judge someone for it? Call me idealistic if you want, but why can’t we all just accept each others’ choices, so long as they’re not harming you in any way? In other words: why can’t we all just get along?

  58. Blondie says:

    Am I the only one that glanced at the pic and thought it was Rosie O’Donnell?

    Anyhoo, I want to feel badly for her. But I’m inclined to agree that she made an assumption that she was being asked to move because her “skinny friends” didn’t have to. It’s possible that that IS the reason, but I don’t think anyone told her so or verbally insulted her. It’s like at these popular clubs where the doorman picks the prettier girls to go in first. They don’t say “I’ll let your friend in because she’s hotter than you.” They just say “you (pointing at prettier friend) can go in!” The less attractive friend will have to draw her own conclusion. Is it right? NO! Does it happen? All the time! Is it news? NOPE

  59. original kate says:

    i’ve never watched AI, but i have a hard time believing that only young, thin, pretty people are in the front rows, considering so many americans are overweight. more likely she & the usher or whomever exchanged words and this is the result.

  60. KattyKat says:

    I believe her (even though I NEVER pay attention to the audience on a TV Show).

    Back in the 1990s when I was a cute young college student, the Emmys recruited people from my school to “play” the bleacher peeps during the red carpet portion of the show. The real fans were kept on bleachers at the end of the red carpet outside of camera range. We were told to dress nicely bring water and look good.

    The people watching the show saw a bunch of 20 year old beach kids in high end casual clothes. My question is, why did they want the red carpet to be better looking than the old, wrinkled stars.

    OK, I am joking there but doesn’t a background full of 20 year olds make a 50 year old leading person look kind of haggard?

  61. Art says:

    When my husband and I went to the Letterman show taping everyone entered the auditorium in line. We came up as end row seats but the ushers directed us to the next row so that two young women could sit at the end. It sure did seem like they were making strategic placements for the camera as I decided to pay attention to them after wondering why we couldnt sit there.

  62. Torchy says:

    This actually happened to me several years ago at a taping of a show that must not be named. Of course they look at people and decide which ones get to sit in the front based on looks and how they are dressed. duh. They made me sit all the way in the very back of the studio up againgst the back wall. It was painfully embarrassing. But at least the guy that seated me had the good sense not to say that’s why he was doing it. However, he did make it very clear by looking me up and down and making a horrible face. It surprises me at the amount of comments where people say they don’t believe this girl.

  63. GT says:

    I feel so sorry for her, this is disgusting. What a sad world we live in that we judge people on how they look. Can you imagine how you would feel if it were you??