Pia Toscana wasn’t the only person in tears at the American Idol studios Thursday.
One fan was left shocked and in tears after being allegedly told by production staffers she could not sit with her friends in the front row because she was “just too big, too heavy to be in front,” RadarOnline.com is exclusively reporting.
19-year-old Ashley Kauffman of Riverside, Calif., told RadarOnline.com that she and five of her girlfriends got free tickets to attend the filming and “were so excited.”
“I felt very lucky to go,” she said.
That was, until they were handed their tickets and three of her friends were allocated front row seats — but not her.
Kauffamn said: “There were two ladies and they kind of looked us up and down and I’m like ‘okay, not a big deal.’
“One of us was not in a great outfit and the lady said ‘Oh, I don’t want shorts in front.’ Then she looks at me and goes, ‘Oh no, you’re just too big, too heavy to be in front!’
“I was kind of taken aback. I’m not that big, but I understand I was bigger than the girls I was with. But I was like, ‘Wow, way to hit a low blow.’”
And the insults didn’t stop there. Ashley and her two other friends who were deemed “not suitable” were seated in the far row of the theater section, right at the back.
“My three other friends were right in the front row by the seated area near the judges. And we’re thinking we’d behind them. Well, the guy grabs my ticket and looks at it and goes, ‘this makes sense why you’re not with the skinny girls. You’re in the last row.’
“I took it really hard, I’m very insecure about my weight anyways, but having this happen I had to stop myself from crying and having it ruin my night completely. But that didn’t stop it from being in my head the whole time.
“I was to the point where I was like I’ve had two people mention something about my weight and why I can’t be in front. I know I’m not an ugly person so I was really offended.”
Brunette Kauffamn, who is 5 ft 2″ and about 150 lbs., said she definitely felt discriminated against throughout the night.
She said: “I felt so belittled as a person because of my weight. They ended up putting two girls who were super skinny and wearing little dresses in the front row where we would of been sitting. The only people that weren’t really skinny were the families in that section.”
Kauffamn said that the only person who apologized for the questionable behavior from the staff was an usher.
“When I told him what was said to me, he apologized. He said ‘I’m sorry they said those things to you, I guess that’s the reasons why they decided not to have you guys together’.”
A distraught Kauffamn immediately called her father after the taping to tell him what happened.
“I got out and I called my dad. He was so excited,” she said.
“My sister kept calling me because she’s in Florida and said you could see my friends in the front row. She asked where I was, and I told her what happened and she was angry. And my dad wanted me to say something.”
“It needs to be known that they are making people feel like this,” Kauffamn told RadarOnline.com.
“I don’t want to be walked all over. I want something to happen. I want them to see ‘Hey, look, this is how your people are acting there,’ when you’re not supposed to discriminate against anybody.”
RadarOnline.com has calls into American Idol for comment, but has yet to receive a response.