ABC is in “crisis mode” and considering taking the spotlight off Claudia Conway after her appearance on “American Idol” was branded “exploitative” because it appeared to capitalize on her serious struggles with her mom, Kellyanne Conway.
For months, Claudia, 16, has been documenting her volatile relationship with her mother, a former White House adviser to Donald Trump, on Tik Tok.
Things got so bad that cops got involved last month after Claudia accused Kellyanne, 54, of leaking a nude picture of her (though she later recanted the allegation).
This weekend, Claudia appeared on the talent show, with the network putting her front-and-center and featuring her in promos for the show. Kellyanne even appeared on the show via video to offer her encouragement.
Critics have claimed the show is using the Conways’ strife to boost ratings, while a Variety article likened the appearance to “malpractice” and says what is “jarringly wrong about this is the degree to which a child at the center of a dispute that has bled into public view is being asked to launder the reputations of two adults [Kellyanne and her controversial politico husband George] who should know better.”
Now an insider tells us the network is “rethinking how they are going to position Claudia and Kellyanne with promotion. They were big on putting Claudia in all of the promos, but now they are thinking of not putting as much focus on that … to not make as big a deal of her being on the show and focus on other contestants.”
ABC is also facing trouble with their series “The Bachelor” after host Chris Harrison apologized and temporarily stepped down after giving an interview in which he seemed to condone alleged racist behavior by contestant Rachael Kirkconnell.
“Given everything with the ‘Bachelor,’ they don’t want any more unnecessary attention or backlash,” says the source.
Claudia, who sang songs by Rihanna and Adele, advanced to the next round.
Meanwhile, a source close to the family says they do not believe the show exploited her. “Claudia has been exploited by many people,” they said, “but not ‘American Idol.’” They noted the program regularly has minors on and that they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. “Claudia wanted to do it,” says the source, saying the hubub is “not fair to Claudia. She worked really hard for her audition.”
In August, Claudia announced she was “officially pushing for emancipation” and last month, she released a TikTok video that seemed to show her mother verbally abusing her.
Then, last month, the topless photo appeared online, with Claudia saying, “I’m assuming my mom took a picture of it to use against me one day and then somebody hacked her or something.” She later backtracked, saying “I know that my mom would never, ever post anything to hurt me like that intentionally and I do believe she was hacked. I want to apologize for making all of this public.”