Cowell to cut Xtra Factor dolphin scene after petition

01/10/14

Boys from Mel B's category are featured in the preview
Image caption Boys from Mel B's category, including Jake Quickenden and Paul Akister (pictured) feature in the preview

We're all used to the X Factor playing on viewers' emotions.

But it's not your run-of-the-mill sob story that's led to Simon Cowell thanking fans for their "concern" on Twitter.

At the end of last week's Xtra Factor, a preview of the next episode showed contestants swimming with dolphins.

The clip attracted the attention of Donna Iliffe-Pollard, who started a petition to have the scene "that glorifies captive dolphins" removed.

In the post, Donna voiced her concern for showing dolphins in captivity and that she was worried "about the impact this episode will have on the younger generations when they watch it in their millions next week".

Simon Cowell tweet

Iliffe-Pollard said her overall goal was to "apply enough pressure with as many signatures as possible to appeal to Simon Cowell's animal loving nature, encouraging him into reconsidering putting this segment in next weekends show (sic)".

Over 8,000 signatures on the petition and comments aimed at the TV and music mogul was enough for him to respond.

The Syco boss, who once told Peta why he "absolutely cannot tolerate cruelty to animals" tweeted: "Reading your tweets. I had no idea Xtra Factor producers filmed with dolphins. This will NOT be showed on Saturday (sic).

"I think you all know my view on cruelty to animals so thank you all for your concern."

He later posted: "They are a hard working bunch [on the Xtra Factor] who weren't aware of the growing concern regarding dolphins."

The X Factor will air over three nights this weekend as hopefuls compete at the judges' houses.

Last week the talent show was beaten by Strictly Come Dancing, with the BBC show having a Friday average of 6.5m viewers as it went head-to-head with the X Factor, which had 5.8m.

On Saturday, the shows had a half-hour overlap, with Strictly attracting an average audience of 8.1m, compared to X Factor's 7.7m.

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