Hate is always something you’re going to have to expect if you’re throwing yourself into the public eye, but one young X Factor Malta contestant has opened up about getting what he believes is increased – and unjust – hate that’s now evolved into bullying.
“I am heartbroken writing this post and couldn’t handle not to do so,” 20-year-old Karl Schembri posted on Facebook on Thursday. “I haven’t slept well in days, I have cried for days.”
“People never know what one is going through in that point of time. People judge too quickly, judge what they see, judge someone they don’t know.”
“I am that kid who dreams of making Malta proud, I am not what you see for two minutes on your television or what the media wants me to be,” Schembri continued, sharing a photo from his childhood.
“This is bullying, and for all those out there experiencing it, we have to stand up and stop it.”
The young contestant has come under fire in recent days for a number of reasons… from people attacking his attitude to the sole fact he’s still in the competition.
Considered by some to be “arrogant” or to have “a bad attitude” for replying to the X Factor judges’ comments and for sometimes going against their recommendations, Karl has also found himself the target of wide online criticism for surviving last week’s Live Final eliminations.
After two of the show’s favourites were both eliminated in a shocking turn of events last Sunday, many were quick to cry foul, point at potential technical glitchs… and even claim contestants like Karl might’ve cheated by spamming vote request SMSes.
After a number of people received SMSes on Sunday night from his parents urging them to vote for their son, Karl found himself yet again under attack online.
X Factor Malta has since released a statement on the latter, promising a “zero tolerance policy will be adopted in cases of proven and clear breaches of rules”.
But Karl’s critics weren’t limited to just regular X Factor viewers…
A noticeable amount of tension seems to also be very present between the young contestant and some of the judges themselves, with last Sunday being the second consecutive time where Howard Keith had a stern word or two to tell the 20-year-old.
Putting the young singer on blast for everything from not going with the choices the judges recommend to choosing a song that made people feel “like they were in the middle of a mass meeting while we’re here trying to elevate these songs”, Howard Keith did not seem to take kindly to Karl’s Gigi D’Agostino rap / opera hybrid performance last week.
In the last days, Karl Schembri’s fans, friends and family have stood up to be counted, with moral support flowing in for the 20-year-old contestant.
Beyond the multitude of comments which the young singer received both on his initial status and on his wall, Karl has also started receiving support in the form of dedicated videos on him.
“We need to be in positions where we say NO,” one particular person, Ryan Lloyd Bradford, said in a video practically dedicated to the controversy. “It’s not easy, you need guts. And you’re not going to look good. But I believe that the version we’re watching is just a tiny bit of what’s happening behind the scenes.”
“The public is judging him on only these certain parameters, and it’s not fair to do so,” Bradford continued, urging everyone to form their own informed opinion before spewing hate or relying on ‘fake Facebook profiles’ only intent on spreading hate.