Cheryl’s sadness over shock claims

Multiple accusations of bullying have emerged

Cheryl X Factor scandal

by Katie Holloway |

In recent weeks, The X Factor, Simon Cowell, and his multimedia company Syco have all come under fire from former contestants of the singing competition show. Rebecca Ferguson, Jedward, Cher Lloyd, and now Katie Waissel have made claims of bullying and even sexual assault.

Now, we’re told that – after being mentor to three of the acts who have spoken out – Cheryl is upset and concerned for everyone involved. The star, who’s been very quiet on social media over the past year and is rarely pictured in public, was spotted on a dog walk last week, looking deep in thought.

Cheryl X Factor scandal

“Cheryl has a naturally caring nature, and feels really sad and worried,” an insider tells heat. “She feels as though it’s turning into a huge controversy, and she’ll be expected to say something soon and will have to pick a side, which she absolutely doesn’t want to do. Cheryl may have worked on the show for years, but she doesn’t believe she should be dragged into any scandals that she didn’t play a part in.”

Former contestant Rebecca Ferguson, 34, recently demanded a parliamentary inquiry into the music industry to protect artists, saying that managers and agents should “face a tribunal should they mistreat an artist or employee”. Twins John and Edward Grimes, aka Jedward, were more blunt, writing on Twitter that their “biggest regret in life” was not telling the show’s judges to “f--k off”. They also claimed that Little Mix and 1D were bound from speaking out by their contracts.

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Steve Brookstein, series one, 2004

Things went downhill super quickly after the high of winning the first ever series of The X Factor, and Steve's still bitter… even now, 12 years later. He's written a book about it called Getting Over The X. Come on now Steve, perhaps you should give it a read.These days he's more into childish rants on Twitter about, well, pretty much everything except making music. He did release an album in 2014, and just to show he's moved on he called it Forgotten Man. It didn't chart.

Cheryl X Factor scandal

Katie Waissel, 35, claimed last week that she was assaulted by a member of The X Factor team while in a hotel in the US, years after she appeared on the show. In an interview, the singer said, “I was paralysed with shock. All I could think was, ‘How am I going to leave this room?’ I was a victim, but I wouldn’t allow myself to recognise just how terrible it had been. I’ve never spoken before, as I thought I’d be blacklisted and never work again. I was vulnerable, but times have changed, and I now feel bold enough to speak out.”

Syco did investigate, and the man in question denied her claims. Katie said that she dropped the complaint, but only because she was pregnant and was worried about the added stress. But her accusation is clearly making people nervous about what else might come out.

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“Cheryl was a huge part of the show and she was privy to a lot of backstage drama, but that’s all,” our source says. “But it feels like a day of reckoning could be coming. Cheryl is very private, but the more stories that keep popping up, the more she feels pressure to say something. It’s upsetting, she’s been quite tearful.”

We’re told the mum of one – who is rumoured to be hosting her own radio show soon, after being “inundated” with offers – is concerned about having to choose sides. “Cheryl’s top priority has always been her son – she doesn’t want Bear reading stuff about her that’s unfair or untrue when he’s older,” we’re told. “She feels upset for those speaking out. Her memories of that time are mostly happy. She wants to be loyal to Simon, but at the same time, she doesn’t want to throw herself into the fire like Sharon Osbourne did when she defended Piers Morgan. Cheryl just wants a quiet life with Bear, really.”

Read more in the latest issue of heat magazine – OUT NOW.

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