We're used to seeing judge's tirades on talent shows but it's clear the humiliating criticism of a contestant on X Factor was offensive and degrading.

Natalia Kills and her husband Willy Moon were sacked as judges on the show after "bullying" contestant Joe Irvine live on television.

I didn't watch the full episode but clips from the show on subsequent news reports made disturbing viewing. You see two celebrities I've never heard of launch a stinging attack on the hapless contestant.

Moon appears to sneer as his wife accuses Irvine of copying her husband's style "from the hair, to the suit", telling him: "You're a laughing stock. It's cheesy, it's disgusting."

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She unleashed this tirade from the lofty heights of an "artist who respects creative integrity". She displayed few signs of integrity in her role as judge.

Moon then chimed in by comparing Irvine to Psycho character Norman Bates.

Talent shows such as X Factor are supposed to celebrate talent but ritualistic humiliation of contestants is also part of the formula.

English reality TV celebrity Simon Cowell is proof of this.

He built a career on his acidic assessments of contestants on shows such as Pop Idol, The X Factor, and American Idol.

However, while Cowell's criticism always has a hard edge, there is a degree of calling "a spade a spade" to his delivery. You might not agree with his tone but often as not you might agree with the sentiment.

It's difficult to say that about Kills and Moon's performance.

In a strange reflection of modern life, the couple now find themselves at the centre of an online tirade.

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Many of the comments are similar in tone to the bullying they are being criticised for.

I could comment that people need to take the higher ground on this issue if they really want to stamp out bullying but that would be pointless.

For Kills and Moon, it's a case of live by the sword, die by the sword.