One of Britney Spears' former collaborators is crying foul after claiming that he was forced into an emotional onstage revelation that was removed from his unsuccessful "X-Factor" audition.
Don Philip, who recorded "I Will Still Love You" with Spears in 1998, appeared to break down in tears backstage after being told his performance wasn't up to par with the reality show's standards. However, Philip claims there was a different reason for his outburst: he had just revealed to his old friend Spears (and her "X-Factor" co-judges Demi Lovato, Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid) that he was gay.
“It was kind of a private thing they forced out of me,” the 32-year-old Philip, who also reportedly sang back-up for Gloria Estefan early in his career, told Access Hollywood. Likening the incident to being "bullied," the singer claims he even contemplated suicide after the admission:
"Backstage, I’d talked to the producers about what was my secret was. And I mentioned that my secret was I was gay, but I really didn’t want to talk about it on the show. So, minutes later when I got on stage, L.A. Reid said, ‘What’s the secret? What’s the secret?’ over and over again. And I had to say it. I just felt like they were going to say it so I felt like I needed to say it first. And I was just so emotionally distraught, I couldn’t pull it together to actually sing."
In June, footage from the audition leaked, showing a tearful Philip coming out to Spears onstage. "At the time I didn’t think I was worthy,” he said to Spears at the time. “I didn’t think you thought it was okay that I am gay."
And the pop queen's response? "I think it is fine you are gay," she said in the leaked footage.
Of the edited segment that aired, Philip told Rumor Fix: "I didn’t do anything bad. They edited the gay out of me.”
Executives for FOX have since released a statement on the audition, dismissing Philip's claims. "While we understand his decision to discuss his personal life, Mr. Philip’s sexual orientation was not something that any of the judges or producers felt was relevant to this audition," the statement read, according to Access Hollywood.