Kills and Moon's comments to contestant Joe Irvine were "completely unacceptable," said MediaWorks in a statement

After their hateful diatribe against contestant Joe Irvine received worldwide attention, X Factor New Zealand judges Natalia Kills and Willy Moon have been removed from the judges’ panel, effective immediately.

“Last night on X Factor both Kills and Moon made comments that were completely unacceptable,” said MediaWorks chief executive Mark Weldon in a statement obtained by New Zealand’s The Edge. MediaWorks produces the New Zealand spin-off of Simon Cowell‘s hit franchise.

“While the judges on X Factor are expected to provide critiques of the performances, we will not tolerate such destructive tirades from any of the judges,” the statement continued. “Contestants put their all into this competition and they should expect to receive feedback and criticism that is professional and constructive.

“We no longer have confidence that Kills and Moon are the right people to perform the role of X Factor judges and they will leave the show, effective immediately.”

Irvine’s devastating critique was handed to him after Kills decided that he had “copied” her husband, Moon, by wearing a slim-fitted suit and short haircut similar to Moon’s own (and, frankly, similar to the style of many men).

“I personally found it absolutely artistically atrocious,” said Kills. “I am embarrassed to be sitting here in your presence having to even dignify you with an answer of my opinion.”

Moon jumped in, too, likening Irvine to a serial killer: “It’s like Norman Bates dressing up in his mother’s clothing. It’s just a little bit creepy, and I feel like you’re going to stitch someone’s skin to your face and then kill everyone in the audience.”

So far, Kills’s only response has been a Tweet thanking her fans for their support and for “understanding my passionate opinions. You know what they say about me,” she wrote, linking to her 2013 song “Problem” from her album Trouble, which peaked at No. 70 on the Billboard Hot 200.

All’s well that ends well – Irvine is just fine following the bullying he endured and can count Ed Sheeran among his supporters. “Don’t worry about what anyone else says man,” Sheeran Tweeted at Irvine. “Enjoy yourself with it, that’s what singing is about, not what other people think.”