Paula Abdul rips Idol producers, Simon for danger, “defamation,” stays because she’s “under contract”

Paula Abdul talked to Barbara Walters on Sirius XM radio yesterday, and what she said is pretty explosive, as she admits that she’s only still on the show because she’s “under contract”–and rips the show’s producers for putting her in danger, and says Simon Cowell is guilty of “defamation.”

She sounds so mad and ready to leave that it makes the unsubstantiated, quickly denied rumor that she’d leave Idol after season eight seem rather plausible, and may even give some credence to that implausible Dancing with the Stars rumor. And now that the show has a fourth judge, the show wouldn’t actually be affected.

In the interview segments that are online, Paula talks mostly about Paula Goodspeed, her stalker who killed herself outside Paula’s house in mid-November. “She had been writing disturbing letters for 17, almost 18 years,” Paula told Barbara Walters, and “We had restraining orders; at times, I hired people like Gavin de Becker.”

Paula said that Goodspeed showed up to audition and the producers were giddy even though Paula begged them not to let her audition. “But come American Idol, when everyone can audition, she showed up. And I was pre-warned by the producers, wait until you see the next, oh my god she is crazy about you. I said this girl is a stalker of mine, and please do not let her in. Everyone knew; I mean, I was shaking. They thought, for entertainment value…”

Barbara Walters, who has apparently never watched the show or she’d know the answer to this question, asked, “You mean, they put you in peril because it would be fun?” Paula said, “Fun-ny, fun for them to cause me stress. And I couldn’t even look up. If you watch the YouTube of her auditioning, I can’t even look up. This was something that would make good television.”

Paula elaborated, although at first suggests she didn’t actually verbally object: “I explained to them through shaking that I do not feel comfortable, please do not let her come into the room, this is not a normal fan. I even went as far as my the guy who’s doing my hair and makeup was aware–he’s been with me forever, he said, this girl sends naked pictures, and it’s very frightening, please do not let her in. And they let her in anyways, and I couldn’t look up,” she said.

Goodspeed showed up at subsequent auditions, and Paula said producers “never took into consideration what that meant, and what was happening at that point was, now I’m being followed home” by Goodspeed.

As to her house, which is now for sale post-suicide,
“>third segment of the interview that Sirius/XM has on its site is the strangest, because Paula gets incoherent and blames Simon Cowell for wrecking her reputation and costing her money. Referring to Simon’s whispering in her ear and causing her to act crazy, Paula said Simon “claims that what he’s creating is great television. What you’ve created is doubt in my character and defamation in my character, and you’ve lied.”

Barbara again asked, “and nothing you can do abou this?” Paula said, “Yeah, there is, Barbara. But I have a lot to think about before doing something like that.”

She added, “what am I seriously going to do? Because the truth of the matter is, I’ve put up with so much B.S. that I’ve had to crawl on my belly. But I rise like a phoenix; I’m a stealth warrior; I’m a smart lady. I could listen to crisis publicists, but the truth is, the voice inside me, I don’t have to dignify and stoop so low to that of what Simon says. If people are going to believe that–and believe me, I’ve lost a lot of money. I lost endorsements. And Simon, all you had to do is retract what he said, and he didn’t. He waited two years.”

Exclusive: Paula Abdul Reveals ‘Idol,’ PAula Goodspeed Details [Sirius XM]

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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.