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'American Idol' Audience Banished to Back Row for Being 'Too Heavy'

April 12, 2011 (3:15 am) GMT
'If that's how they treat me - a nobody - how are they treating their staff or their contestants?' a teenage from California complained after she was separated from skinny girls.

Weighing around 150lbs, Ashley Kauffman claimed she was banished to the back row of "" audience seats. The 19-year-old now demands an apology from the producers for discriminating her, saying "I want an apology. It was wrong. I want to speak up and make sure it's known how they treated me."

Kauffman was one of the lucky girls earning free tickets to watch the show from close distance. She and her friends were supposed to get the front row seats but an "Idol" employee said she is too big. "There were two ladies and one said: 'Oh, I don't want shorts in front', about my friend," Kauffman told MailOnline. "Then she looked at me and said: 'Oh no, you're too big, too heavy to be in front!' "

Saying she was "hurt", the Riverside, California native revealed she is indeed the heavier one in her group but she is "not even that heavy". Her weight was triggered by medical issues when she was younger. "It makes me mad that they would jump to the conclusion that I'm heavy because I eat a lot," Kauffman fumed.

Telling more about the "Idol" experience, Kauffman said she was to sit in the second row behind her other friends when a male staff stopped her and took her tickets. "It hurt to hear that from the first girl but it hurt even more coming from a guy," she said. "I was borderline tears. I couldn't stop thinking about it. It's still on my mind." Two "super skinny girls" wearing little dresses were then placed in the front row.

"Idol" spokesman is yet to comment on the story.

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