Simon Cowell will no longer be a judge on the upcoming season of X Factor Israel. The longtime panel member has canceled his scheduled appearance on Season 4 “for his own reasons,” a spokesperson for the show’s network, Reshet, told Variety on Sunday.
Last year, the veteran producer and reality TV icon signed a deal to star as one of the judges on the next season of X Factor Israel, marking his first time ever judging an international X Factor outside of the US and UK. He was supposed to start shooting this summer, but now those filming plans will carry on without him. Reshet has yet to say if Cowell will play another part in the production of X Factor Israel beyond judging, too.
A Reshet representative told Variety that Cowell’s staff members allegedly reached out with “legitimate concerns” about working on X Factor Israel after the recent violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and that at the time he had yet to make a final decision. Last week, a Jewish News report claimed a source close to Cowell said he was “bitterly disappointed” that he couldn’t take part for “a number of reasons.” Representatives for Cowell have not replied to requests for comment, however, so all of this should be taken with a grain of salt.
This news arrives during a global conversation about the ethnic cleansing in Palestine by Israel after more than 240 people were killed in Palestine, 12 people died in Israel, and countless buildings were destroyed. Most recently, more than 600 musicians signed a letter calling for a boycott of performances in Israel in a show of support for Palestine. Signatories for that include Rage Against the Machine, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, Serj Tankian of System of a Down, Run the Jewels, Black Thought and Questlove of The Roots, and Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, among countless others.
Last August, Cowell broke his back in a serious bike accident and needed surgery and extensive rehab to recover from the injuries. He’s now back on his feet and returning to his other judging gigs like America’s Got Talent on NBC.