Contestants Sue ‘X Factor’

A father and son who flubbed their Miami, Fla., auditions in front of the judges at “The X Factor” are suing the show and staff for putting them through an alleged physical ordeal before the audition that left them too exhausted to perform well.

Hyman Marks, 86, his wife Helen, 78, and son Stephen, 54, filed the lawsuit Aug. 3 in Florida civil court accusing Fox Broadcasting Company, “The X Factor” and executive producer Simon Cowell of negligence, fraudulent representation and mental anguish.

Court papers obtained by Pollstar claims that after father and son made it through several auditions, they were notified they would advance to a June 15 audition in front of Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger and “L.A.” Reid at Bank United Center at the University of Miami.

“Once at the Bank United Center, Hyman and Stephen Marks were told that they were the only father/son combo to make it to this elite group. Because of the novelty of the father/son success, ‘X Factor’ staff spent considerable time and resources interviewing and filming all three Marks, including several hours outdoors being filmed in staged scenes of them coming out of their car and walking into the Center,” court papers say. “The temperature that day was 96 degrees Fahrenheit and press reports indicated that many people waiting in line to be in the audience had fainted from the heat.

“Forcing an 86-year-old man with a bad knee (knee surgery several years ago), a 78-year-old woman who walks even slower and a 54-year-old man with very bad asthma to do all this was unfair and discriminatory since none of the other contestants had to do this.”
And that wasn’t all.

“In addition to being subjected to the inhumane conditions outside, Hyman and Stephen Marks (along with Helen Marks) were also forced to film countless staged scenes indoors (including one with Hyman and Stephen dancing wildly in front of mirrors), as well as countless interviews, some including Helen Marks,” according to the suit.

The duo failed to advance to the next round because of their sub-par performances, the suit said. Cowell allegedy voted against them because he didn’t think Hyman could physically handle the rigors and stress of the competition.

The suit seeks another chance for Hyman and Stephen to audition under more fair conditions for the judging panel. If program officials refuse, the suit asks the court to award the family $3 million.

Meanwhile, Cowell has reportedly upped the stakes for the winner of “The X Factor” regardless of whether that performer becomes a star.

Cowell is said to be adding a $5 million cash prize to a $5 million record contract. The winner will also be featured in a Super Bowl ad for Pepsi.