Simon Cowell has a tabloid frenzy on his hands after a convicted criminal won a huge jackpot on a Cowell game show airing in the U.K., The Guardian reports.
Cowell blamed "human error" for allowing Nathan Hageman to compete on his British game show "Red or Black?"
Hageman, who won the show’s $1.6 million jackpot on its opening night, was convicted of domestic violence and received a five-year jail sentence, the story says. Cowell suggested Hageman give part of his winnings "to the person he had the altercation with and a charity," according to the piece.
The show’s background checks failed to prevent Hageman from appearing on the show, something that Cowell called "embarrassing," the story says.
"Whatever checks should have been done either weren’t done properly or weren’t relayed to us, because it put us in a horrible position,” Cowell said. “But it’s embarassing and we have tried to do something about it now. We don’t sit there hoping things like this are going to happen, I mean genuinely we wanted this to be ‘happy endings.’"
Three contestants were taken off the show on Wednesday after the program made more stringent probes into participants’ backgrounds, the article says.
Cowell predicted that the show would be in the U.S., along with dozens of other countries, within 12 months, the story adds.