December 12, 2008

"You mean they put you in peril because they thought it would be fun?"

Barbara Walters asks Paula Abdul, after Abdul reveals that she told the "American Idol" producers that Paula Goodspeed had been stalking her for 17 years and the producers -- in spite or because of that -- put Goodspeed through as a contestant. Last month, Goodspeed killed herself near Abdul's home.

David Letterman -- who also had a stalker who killed herself -- tells Abdul to sue: "This could be the biggest lawsuit in the history of television. Sue these baboons!"

(Paula looks so tiny sitting next to Dave, and she's so bundled up in layers of clothing, including a military-style jacket with rows of brass buttons. The picture of vulnerability.)

Former AI producer Nigel Lythgoe defends the show -- and it's a difficult defense, because it's not in the show's interest to call Abdul a liar:
"[Goodspeed] had been through an audition process with the producers, an audition process with the executive producers, and we were wheeling her in as a huge fan of Paula Abdul," Lythgoe said. "This is what we knew: She was a great fan, she was a lovely girl. And a great fan of Paula."

Lythgoe said doesn't remember Abdul's request to have Goodspeed removed. "This is three years ago," he said. "I honestly say I can't remember the conversation. If Paula said, that's what she said, I believe her."

Lythgoe added: "We've seen over 700,000 contestants. And one has made a terrible, terrible mistake. If you're an odds man, they are great odds."...

"I'm not angry with Paula," he said. "I think Paula's in a position of: 'It wasn't my fault,' and reaching out from that point of view. For her family's sake, it should really be dropped."

Chances of a lawsuit? I'm going to say very low.

20 comments:

Original George said...

Ms. Walters is paid $12 million a year by ABC, according to Forbes.

It's hard to believe that she got where she is by being a fairly hard-nosed national/international news reporter and expert on women's issues.

Pogo said...

"I'm your biggest fan".

That phrase must cut like a knife now.

AllenS said...

It's too bad that television was invented. Nothing good has become of it. We should have went from radio to the internets.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I know this comment won't endear me with Professor Althouse but I didn't think my opinion of American Idol could get any lower.

Actually, upon reflection, it really isn't a surprise that they did it considering the show is for a large part based upon publically humilating people on national TV. Bringing in Abdul's stalker would be great for ratings, who cares if she flipped out.

That show is a joke and Simon is one of the most despicable human beings I have ever had the misfortune of listening too.

peter hoh said...

Speaking of lawsuits, perhaps baboons should sue Letterman for defamation.

Shanna said...

Former AI producer Nigel Lythgoe defends the show

Is Nigel a "former" producer? Since when?

Tibore said...

I'm not normally a fashion guy but: What Paula's wearing is a "military-style jacket"? In who's army, Michael Jackson's?

Tibore said...

On a different note: I agree with Letterman. The whole case is at the put-up-or-shut-up point. If A.I. really did bring her stalker in, then Paula should let them have it for causing an unsafe work environment. On the other hand, if Paula's just pulling a diva on people, then this will reveal if the stalking allegation is serious or not.

It's Paula's move now.

Tibore said...

Last comment: Given that this former producer hasn't denied things (rather, has just done the "I don't remember it" defense), I'm thinking that Paula Abdul's complaint has some validity. She should let them have it.

EDH said...

I don't see a cause of action for Abdul. Int infliction of emotional distress? Please.

Had Goodspeed done her first suicide attempt outsde Abdul's home before being admitted as a contenstant to the show?

I don't believe so.

The thing I find disturbing is the attitude of Letterman and Abdul. While it must be a relief in some ways to know your stalker has killed herself, to crack jokes on national TV is pretty lame.

Contra, I suspect Abdul may be participating in a publicity effort with AI. The show is driven by internal conflict, isn't it?

MadisonMan said...

Paula looks very uncomfortable in that interview.

john said...

AllenS: there was a golden age of television. And AI certainly could have learned some good lessons on humiliation from experts in the field.

Skeptical said...

Althouse, What is the most plausible theory under which Abdul could sue? Nothing occurs to me.

AllenS said...

Yes, John, there was. I'm old enough to remember some of those shows. Ernie Kovacs, Jackie Gleason, Steve Allen, that was good stuff. I also loved Amos and Andy. Can't have that now.

Methadras said...

If Paula Abdul even remotely goes anywhere near an attorney to sue American Idol, not only will she be seen as shitting in her back yard, but whatever endorsements and product deals she has going on right now will dry up in about a nanosecond. She may win the battle but will lose the war.

Trooper York said...

Obviously none of you have followed American Idol or seen Paula's reality show. In fact Paula is batshit crazy and you can not believe a single thing that she says. I have no doubt that the Producers exploited the situation but the line between the mental capacity of the insane stalker and Paula Abdul is negligible at best.

They are easing her out by introducing another woman judge this year and she is preparing her exit strategy. Paula should have been replaced two years ago and nothing she says is within the same hemisphere as reality.

jdeeripper said...

MadisonMan said...Paula looks very uncomfortable in that interview.

She also looks itsy bitsy teeny tiny.

john said...

AllenS: Ah yes - Ernie, Jackie, Steve, the great ones. And lets not forget Chuck Barris.

Skeptical said...

Can anyone say what possible theory Abdul could sue under?

Trooper York said...

That would be the crazy bitch theory.