Simon Cowell issues statement after Lucy Spraggan reveals ‘X Factor’ rape ordeal

Simon Cowell has issued a statement following former X Factor contestant Lucy Spraggan revealing that she was raped while taking part in the show.

The musician came forward with her story earlier this week, and revealed that she was sexually assaulted by a hotel porter in 2012.

The singer-songwriter – who was aged 20 at the time – was celebrating fellow contestant Rylan Clark’s birthday in Mayfair, as ITV reported.

At the party, she fell unconscious and was escorted back to her hotel by a member of the ITV production team and a hotel porter. The porter, however, later used a “traceable keycard” to enter her room and attack her.

The porter was arrested after sufficient evidence was gathered, and subsequently imprisoned for 10 years (via The Mirror). Spraggan has since gone on to detail the attack and its aftermath in her new memoir Process: Finding My Way Through.

She also told her story in an emotional interview with The Guardian, recalling the moment she realised what had happened to her. “I woke up the next day with this sense of sheer dread. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that level of confusion since,” she said. “I knew that I’d been raped, but I could not process that. So I put my clothes on and went into autopilot.”

Lucy Spraggan performs at O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire on May 18, 2023
Lucy Spraggan performs at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on May 18, 2023. CREDIT: Joseph Okpako/Getty Images

Now, music industry mogul and frequent X Factor judge Simon Cowell has shared a statement about her experience on the show, and revealed that he has been in touch with her to offer his support.

“What happened to Lucy was horrific and heartbreaking. When I was given the opportunity to speak to Lucy, I was able to personally tell her how sorry I was about everything she has been through,” he said (via The Mirror).

“Although we met under tragic circumstances, a genuine friendship and a mutual respect has developed between us. Lucy is one of the most authentic, talented, and brave people I have ever met. Since we connected, I have had the honour to work with Lucy and I have always supported her wish to tell her story, as well as her efforts to bring about positive change.”

Spraggan also recalled what it was like when Cowell reached out to her in an interview with BBC Breakfast, claiming that his apology meant a great deal to her as it was something that no one else offered.

“[He said:] ‘Lucy, before you or I say anything else, the first thing I need to tell you is that I am sorry’,” she explained, beginning to get upset (via Metro). “It makes me emotional…because no one else said sorry. He wasn’t even on [the show during] my year – he wasn’t even a judge – and he as a human being gave me everything I needed in two words.”

The alleged lack of support she received at the time is something that she first addressed when speaking with The Guardian. “No one ever contacted me to ask if I was OK,” she said. “No one called or emailed when the trial was over and he was convicted. No one offered me rehabilitation or ongoing mental health treatment. I was on my own.”

Simon Cowell attends the Britain's Got Talent 2023 Photocall at London Palladium on January 27, 2023. Credit: Shane Anthony Sinclair/Getty
Simon Cowell attends the Britain’s Got Talent 2023 Photocall at London Palladium on January 27, 2023. Credit: Shane Anthony Sinclair/Getty

Responding to Spraggan’s comments, ITV issued a statement saying: “We have the deepest compassion for Lucy and everything she has endured as a result of this horrific ordeal. We commend her resilience and bravery.

“We have evolved and improved these oversight procedures since the events in question and we are encouraged to hear that Thames recognises the importance of continuous review and improvement of their own processes,” the broadcaster added. “In an event of such a distressing nature, welfare and support towards the victim would always be of the utmost priority.”

Additionally, a spokesperson for Fremantle, the British TV company that produced The X Factor described her experience as “truly horrific” and said that “whilst we believed throughout that we were doing our best to support Lucy in the aftermath of the ordeal, as Lucy thinks we could have done more, we must therefore recognise this.”

Announcing her memoir on social media, Spraggan went on to describe the process of writing the autobiography as “freeing” and marking “the beginning of a new era”. She also thanked fans for their continued support as she goes to take “a break” from social media.

Process: Finding My Way Through by Lucy Spraggan, is out now via Bonnier Books and can be purchased here.