Scores of people are asking if tough-talking British entertainer and contest show judge Simon Cowell caved to political pressure after he backed out of “X-Factor Israel” this past week without explanation.
Cowell came to prominence in the early 2000s in the U.S. when he served as a judge on “American Idol” with fellow judges Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul. He’s since become a prominent judge and producer on shows such as “America’s Got Talent” and “The-X Factor.”
Cowell’s blunt assessments of singers on “Idol” gave him a sort of tough-guy image in the U.S. as he breathlessly shredded people who didn’t have what he viewed as the right stuff. In 2021, has the 61-year-old Briton lost his edge?
Cowell said he was excited to evaluate Israel’s singers and performers in the upcoming season of “X-Factor Israel.” Last December, as The Hollywood Reported noted, Cowell said he could “barely wait to see what the Israelis have to offer.” He’ll have to catch the singing competition on TV, now that he is no longer attached to the show, at least as a judge.
His decision to pull out of the competition was reported by sources apparently close to his decisions to sit it out.
“Rumors Cowell was pulling out of the show began last week in the wake of renewed violence in the region between Israel and Hamas and with reports of confrontations between Jewish and Arab Israelis in the streets of the country’s cities,” THR reported. “Cowell has not commented on the move through a report in Jewish News, Britain’s largest Jewish newspaper, citing an unnamed source close to the media mogul that claimed Cowell could not take part in the show for ‘a number of reasons’ and was ‘bitterly disappointed.’”
Did Cowell pull out of the show due to pressure, or the threat thereof, from his cohorts in entertainment filling the recent conflict between Israel and the Palestinians? We don’t know, but it wouldn’t be a surprise. Hollywood actress Gal Gadot, an Israeli-born veteran of the Israel Defense Forces, was targeted for cancelation last month over this benign statement:
— Gal Gadot (@GalGadot) May 12, 2021
Look at the kind of feedback she received:
Your country is not at war, @GalGadot. Your country is perpetuating war crimes, genocide, ethnic cleansing and apartheid. There are no “both sides”. There is only the violent, murderous settler-colonialism of Israel. #FREEPALESTINE #GazaUnderAttack #IsraelTerrorism https://t.co/Nvy4heTz0O
— Khairil Anuar (@KhairilAnuar) May 12, 2021
Where do I start?Gal Gadot has first hand served in the idf,seen the oppression Palestinians face, and yet continues to support the ethnic cleansing and genocide. Israel is a racist, terrorist not a victim.Wonder Woman would hate you #GazaUnderAttack #SavePalestine #FreePalestine https://t.co/QLS76JW7Qx
— 𝒎𝒊𝒓𝒊 #𝒇𝒓𝒆𝒆𝒑𝒂𝒍𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒆 ❁ check rts! (@miriamshoh) May 12, 2021
Petition for @wbpictures @warnerbros to finally suspend gal gadot from her role in wonderwoman because that scum is previous member in the IDF!!! Means she literally KILLED people who were innocent!! Doesnt deserve the role at all #FREEPALESTINE
— 𝓛𝓸𝓵𝓪. (@Holaitslola1997) May 27, 2021
Hollywood, music and the rest of entertainment largely sided with Hamas last month after the terror group fired thousands of rockets indiscriminately into Israeli cities. Israel of course responded with force — as it should have. Cowell did not comment on the conflict and has issued no statement about his reported decision to leave the Israeli show.
Cowell did recently have back surgery following a bicycle accident, according to “Entertainment Tonight.”
“The first four weeks were the hardest,” Cowell told the show of his recovery after breaking his back in multiple places late last year. “Because you feel kind of helpless, and it was the first time in my life I’ve ever felt helpless … Then you’re bored and frustrated, and I was in so much pain, if I’m being honest with you.”
But Cowell committed to “X-Factor Israel” after that interview, and he’s currently judging “America’s Got Talent” on NBC. It certainly appears plausible that Cowell caved to pressure from the anti-Israel left, or caved to perceived pressure which likely would have come had he participated in “X-Factor Israel.”
It’s peculiar that Cowell pulled out of the show he created in the weeks following a backlash among many of his peers over Israel’s response to terrorism against its citizens — citizens Cowell said he simply couldn’t wait to see sing this summer.
Reshet, the company which produces “X-Factor Israel,” told Variety that Cowell would not judge the show “for his own reasons.”
“Amid rumors of his cancellation last week, a Reshet representative told Variety that members of Cowell’s staff had reached out with ‘legitimate concerns’ over his participation in the show after the recent violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, but that at the time he had made no final decision,” Variety reported.
Cowell has made a decision. If he made it out of fear of reprisals from leftist Hollywood, the veteran music producer and TV personality ought to schedule an appointment to see an orthopedist about a potential spine replacement surgery, now that he’s on the mend following his accident.
Folding to political pressure and bailing out on Israel’s singers, if that is indeed what occurred here, would be a cowardly move for a man who has spent decades intentionally saying things meant to rile people up. Standing with Israel after it was attacked by its enemies with rockets and later with words, might have been too much for the music producer and judge.
Perhaps at some point, Cowell will address his decision to cancel on Israel. For now, all we can do is speculate about why he did it.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.