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Natalia Kills and Willy Moon fired from The X Factor NZ

Judges Natalia Kills and Willy Moon have been fired from The X Factor NZ, following their bullying of a contestant during Sunday night’s first live show.

In a statement on Monday, MediaWorks chief executive Mark Weldon said Kills and Moon would no longer be a part of the X Factor show. “Last night on X Factor, both Kills and Moon made comments that were completely unacceptable. While the judges on X Factor are expected to provide critiques of the performances, we will not tolerate such destructive tirades from any of the judges,” he said. “Contestants put their all into this competition and they should expect to receive feedback and criticism that is professional and constructive. We no longer have confidence that Kills and Moon are the right people to perform the role of X Factor judges and they will leave the show, effective immediately.”
Kills made a string of scathing remarks towards contestant Joe Irvine on Sunday night's live show relating to his appearance. "As an artist who respects creative integrity and intellectual property, I am disgusted at how much you've copied my husband," Kills began. "From the hair to the suit, do you not have any value or respect for originality? You're a laughing stock. It's cheesy, it's disgusting. I personally found it absolutely artistically atrocious. I am embarrassed to be sitting here in your presence even having to dignify you with an answer of my opinion," she continued. "You make me sick. It's absolutely disgusting. You have no identity, I can't stand it. I'm ashamed to be here."
The termination follows intense public pressure and a social media backlash against the husband and wife duo. Several Facebook pages were launched overnight calling for Kills to resign as a judge, with one attracting more than 50,000 ‘likes’. A Change.org petition also attracted more than 54,000 signatures. Many local celebrities have weighed into the debate, from former X Factor contestants to Black Caps and All Blacks. Israel Dagg tweeted: "Those comments were inappropriate and disgraceful". Fellow judges Melanie Blatt and Stan Walker have been equally upset by their colleagues, with Blatt calling Kills a “twat”, and Walker, an anti-bullying campaigner, saying her actions were “disgusting”.
International stars have reached out to Joe Irvine to show their support for the bullied contestant. Ed Sheeran tweeted: "Don't worry about what anyone else says man. Enjoy yourself with it, that's what singing is about, not what other people think." Sheeran is hoping to meet Joe when he is next in the country. Meanwhile, Lorde sent Irvine a card encouraging him to be himself and a box of cupcakes decorated with the words "keep being Joe"

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