did Simon give Paula the finger?

did Simon give Paula the finger?
Simon Cowell’s middle finger gesture/scratching motion on Tuesday night’s American Idol 3 prompted two complaints to the FCC and some all-caps headlines on Matt Drudge’s site. USA TODAY has the rundown of what happened after Fantasia Barrino’s performance. In a statement, Simon denied that he was joining millions of viewers at home by flicking Paula off: “I certainly would never make a gesture … like that toward Paula on national television. Sometimes I lean on my index finger. Sometimes a different finger. Sometimes two at the same time, or, God help me, even the whole hand.” Drudge says that the image “came close to being cut,” and he quotes a source at FOX who says, “It appeared he was simply resting his head on his middle finger, but I now think we made a mistake, the gesture should not have aired.”
+ also: 19.5 million viewers called in after Tuesday’s show, but Matt Rogers didn’t get enough to stick around.

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Plus: an interview with the actor who played Verlox and the ogre.

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Also: Before the show began, Shark Barbara Corcoran was cast and then replaced--but then she sent this amazing e-mail and won the job.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.