Will criminal record deny Cheryl Cole a job in US?
Pop singer’s nightclub incident could cost her a place on ‘X Factor USA’
Cheryl Cole faces yet another barrier to taking her seat at the judging table on the American version of the X Factor. As well as her strong Geordie accent, which many believe will be unfathomable to an American audience, there's her criminal conviction for assaulting a black toilet attendant in a Guildford nightclub.
Unconfirmed rumours emerged yesterday that Simon Cowell is grooming the singer for the American version of X Factor, to be launched by Fox TV next year.
Now the British press are questioning whether her 2003 conviction for Actual Bodily Harm (ABH) against Sophie Amogbokp could hinder her plan to break into US television.
Any previous criminal convictions have to be declared on visa application forms. So to get permission to work in the States she will have to own up to the Guildford incident. And if the US authorities decide the conviction was serious enough, she would have to apply for a waive.
Cole was 19 - and known as Cheryl Tweedy - when she punched Sophie Amogbokpa at the Drink nightclub in Guildford after she and the toilet attendant got into a row over paying for lollipops. Amogbokpa said that Cole called her a "Caribbean jigaboo" and a "black bitch".
But the Girls Aloud singer has always maintained that she acted in self-defence and has strenuously denied the racism charges.
Cole was found guilty of ABH in October 2003. She was sentenced to 120 hours community service and had to pay £500 compensation plus £3000 in legal fees.
She was cleared of racially aggravated assault but that didn't stop her being condemned as a racist and a thug - a reputation, however unfair, that is unlikely to play well with the American public.
But Cole has one ace up her sleeve - her marriage to black footballer Ashley Cole. Even if she is now divorced, it suggests she can't really be a racist.
It also allowed her to change her name, confining Cheryl Tweedy and that embarrassing conviction to the dusty recesses of the internet. She hopes. ·
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