American Idol apologizes to those “offended by” contestant’s “be careful” comment

The producers of American Idol 8 have apologized to viewers via their web site over the editing of an audition, admitting to a “misinterpretation” of comments portrayed as threatening, and saying those comments “took everyone by surprise.”

Last Wednesday during the Louisville audition, a distant grandson of convicted Lincoln assassination conspirator Samuel Mudd auditioned and, once he was rejected, seemed to threaten the judges by saying “be careful” repeatedly as he left the room. Paula Abdul said, “That’s not a normal thing to say” and suggested she felt unsafe, telling the other judges, “I don’t know about you, but I’m flying out tonight.”

Now, the producers say on the show’s site that they misinterpreted his comments and blame it on their brief stay in the region and not understanding what he meant by it:

“We apologize to any viewers who were offended by the misinterpretation of the contestant’s comment to “be careful” upon completion of his audition in Louisville, KY. Our visits to audition cities are relatively brief and sometimes regional greetings and salutations are lost in translation. We had not heard that phrase from any other contestants during the day, so it took everyone by surprise. We now know better and look forward to visiting Louisville again someday.”

Clarification From Louisville Auditions [American Idol]
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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, 37, 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.