Idol Bosses Angry Over Fantasia TV Movie
07/31/2006 AT 08:15 AM EDT
"Certainly, under no circumstances was she ever approached to be talked out of taking part in (the show)," Idol executive producer Ken Warwick tells the New York Post, in response to the tele-movie's claim that Barrino was urged to withdraw from the competition because – as an unwed mother and high-school drop-out – she was not a suitable role model.
"We knew she had a baby right from Day One, and she was always strongly tipped to win the competition because she was so good," insists Warwick, adding, "I can absolutely refute that nothing was done, or even remotely suggested to her that she shouldn't take part in the competition. It's a complete fabrication."
According to the Post, the movie opens with the then-19-year-old Barrino's coming off the Idol stage and being asked to speak with producers, who confront her with Internet postings about her suitability to compete.
"It's absolutely and totally untrue," Warwick responds. "I'm the executive producer, Nigel (Lythgoe) is the other executive producer and nobody – to my knowledge – would have said anything like that to her."
There has been no comment from Barrino on Warwick's claims.
Earlier this month, the singer told the Television Critics Association at its summer meeting that the movie – in which she plays herself – was a difficult experience for her because, among other reasons, she had to relive the rape that resulted in her having a child.
Still, she said, she believes her story can inspire others. "At the end, I began to cry and I said, 'I went through all those things, but I know why I share my life.' I'm thankful that I was able to do it," she said.