X Factor's Rebecca Ferguson 'lived through hell' and 'breaks NDA' to blast ITV

The X Factor star Rebecca Ferguson has lashed out at ITV and the televised singing competition as she claims she’s breaking ‘multiple NDAs’ to do so.

Rebecca, 36, shot to fame on the show in 2010 where she came second, and went on to release four top 10 albums.

However she retired in 2021, announcing that she would now focus on ‘fighting for better treatment’ for artists.

Now the I Hope singer appears to be doing just that, as she has seemingly broken multiple non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and gone public with her previously private complaints to ITV and Ofcom.

Taking to Twitter on Tuesday night, Rebecca said that she had ‘lived through hell’ and was done with being silent.

The mum-of-four wrote: ‘I’m bound by multiple NDAs but I cannot continue to not live in my full truth, being silent is worse I’ve lived through hell for years.’

The star claimed she had contacted senior leadership of ITV in 2021, including chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall, asking for an investigation into the network’s reality shows – including ‘codes of conduct, post-show aftercare and freedom of choice of management.’

She said COO Sarah Clarke replied to her ‘apologising about any personal bad experiences but declined to investigate further as ITV already had procedures in place and follow a Duty of Care Charter.

Rebecca went on to say she had signed ‘contract after contract’ under ‘economic duress and extreme stress and illness,’ and she did ‘what I had to [to] survive and remain strong for my family.’

She also shared what appeared to be emails between herself and ITV, including COO Sarah, where she said she had attached a copy of the contract she was ‘pressured to sign without an independent lawyer.’

In one email, she told ITV she had ‘a traumatic experience away from the cameras’ on The X Factor and ‘not only experienced but witnessed some terrible foul play from a number of directions.’

She claimed she was told if she didn’t sign two contracts ‘there and then’ she would ‘be kicked off the show,’ and said she did not get to see the terms and conditions of the contract, ‘purely the signature page,’ and she ‘didn’t have any access to independent legal advice.’

She stated this was ‘a total abuse of power’ over her, and went on to give a list of suggestions in how to better protect people taking part in ITV reality shows, from independent legal advice, artist freedom of choice, contestant welfare and post-show aftercare.

ITV apparently claimed in their response that all parties are independent from one another and that the lawyer she was given was in fact independent.

Rebecca wrote in her 2021 email: ‘Only now 11 years on am I recovering from the impact of a number of the points mentioned above. Some of my experiences are in some ways unbelievable and I would not wish this on anyone, hence why I am getting in touch with you all.’

On Wednesday, she shared what she said was an email she sent to Ofcom in 2021 sharing her concerns but claimed she ‘appeared to be fobbed off.’

‘I am open to communication should they now wish to follow up with my private complaint now that I have made my complaint public,’ she added.

She claimed in the email that X Factor contestants were ‘forced into contracts without independent legal advice … mentally manipulated and abused whilst having mental health problems … reduced to tears due to pressure/bullying … forced to sign to a management company with no freedom of choice [and] told if they refused they will be kicked off the show.’

She also claimed contestants ‘are given accountants by the show who aren’t independent and don’t have the best interests of clients.’

In the body of the email, Rebecca wrote: ‘Although my life has moved on and my career is still thriving, I am very concerned about the future contestants and their welfare. I believe that Ofcom needs to conduct an urgent inquiry to ensure the future safety of contestants and ensure adequate safeguarding measures are put in place to protect future contestants on these shows.’

The X Factor last aired in 2018, but was not officially cancelled until 2021.

Rebecca is not the first former contestant to speak out about how the show needs to do better for those taking part – last year,  Katie Waissel claimed that she was sexually assaulted by one of the team on the ITV show, while in the US some years after she took part.

Chico Slimani also hit out at the show that made him famous, claiming bosses are only interested in making ‘money’ from its stars.

Lucy Spraggan was also an open critic of the show’s lack of support, saying there was ‘absolutely zero consciousness of people’s welfare at the time I was on that show.’

‘They have a lot of questions to answer about duty of care across the board, not just ITV but the people behind it.’

Lucy now has a close friendship with mogul Simon Cowell, and says she ‘absolutely’ believes he has taken her concerns on board if the show was ever to come back.

She told Metro.co.uk: ‘We talk a lot about mental health. I’ve told him everything about my experience and the experiences of some of my friends. But in terms of that broader perspective of mental health, we talk about our mental health independently and together.

‘If there was to be another [X Factor] there would be a considerable amount of change.’

An X Factor spokesperson previously told Metro.co.uk when approached for comment on similar issues: ‘The duty of care to our contestants is of the utmost importance to us. We take welfare very seriously.’

ITV has already faced intense scrutiny this month for claims of ‘toxicity’ on set at This Morning, following the fallout from Phillip Schofield’s confession that he lied about having an affair with a young runner.

Former regulars and guests of the show came out claiming they had witnessed or been subject to bullying on the set.

Metro.co.uk has reached out to ITV for comment.

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