April 13, 2011 -- A woman who attended a taping of Fox's "American Idol" claims she was removed from the first row of the audience for being too heavy.
Ashley Kauffman, 19, attended last week's results show taping but claims that when she and her friends arrived early to grab seats up front, studio staff told her she was too heavy to sit in front. She says she and two other friends were moved a few rows back.
"I was kind of taken back because the look on her face was just as if I was disgusting," Kauffman said of the woman who originally asked her to move. "Honestly I didn't think I was disgusting looking," she said on "Good Morning America" this morning.
She claimed that when an usher took her ticket after they had moved, he said, "it makes sense why you're not with the skinny girls."
Kauffman said she tried not to let the incident bring her down or ruin her night. "I believe God made me exactly how he wants to make me and He doesn't make mistakes."
"They shouldn't judge anybody, and they shouldn't treat anybody different just because of the way they look," Kauffman's father, Randy Kauffman, said.
While the show is a talent competition, looks have played a role.
Season 5 contestant Mandisa was on the receiving end of some tough remarks about her weight from then-judge Simon Cowell.
"Do we have a bigger stage this year?" Cowell said, referring to her.
"It was just hurtful and mean and the one thing I didn't want to have happen," Mandisa said. Cowell later apologized, and Mandisa forgave him.
But the show has also had its share of overweight contestants who have gone on to great success, including Frenchie, Reuben Studdard and, most notably, Jennifer Hudson.
'American Idol' Denies Allegations
In a statement, "American Idol" denied Kauffman's allegations. It said that what happened to the young woman had nothing to do with her looks.
According to the statement, the show's audience coordinator explained to Kauffman and her "party of six" that there were six "great seats" on the floor but that they were in two groups of three.
"Ms. Kauffman's party agreed to be split up, and contrary to her allegations, she did not sit alone or in the back of the house. In fact, she and her remaining party were seated just four rows behind their friends, directly in camera shot, in some of the best seats in the house," the statement continued.
Kauffman said she just wants an apology. "Most of all, I don't want this to happen to anybody else… The wrong girl would have taken it horribly."