Hey Idol, that will be $250 million please. Wait, what?!
That’s exactly how much 10 former American Idol contestants are demanding after details of their joint lawsuit against the FOX show were released. TMZ broke the story that the former male contestants, who come from various seasons, are each demanding $25 million after allegations they were booted from the show because of their race, “the contestants have accused producers
accused producersof conducting a “cruel and inhumane” scheme to exploit them for ratings by illegally digging up their arrest histories and using the records to humiliate them on national TV.”
The lawsuit goes on to say that show producers used these arrests to make the contestants look like "violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants," and continues to say that none of the contestants had been convicted of the charges from their arrests. Lawyers for the group also said only black contestants were “probed for their criminal past” and never white people.
With their lives allegedly ruined by the show, “The 10 are suing for discrimination and other alleged misdeeds. They also want Idol to adopt new anti-racism regulations.”
The contestants participating in the suit are as follows — Corey Clark (Season 2), Jaered Andrews (Season 2), Jacob John Smalley (Season 2), Donnie Williams (Season 3), Terrell Brittenum (Season 5), Derrell Brittenum (Season 5), Thomas Daniels (Season 6), Akron Watson (Season 6), Ju’Not Joyner (Season 8), and Chris Golightly (Season 9).
In the case of Corey Clark, Idol producers disqualified him for un-disclosed charges; fellow contestant that season Trenyce also had a previous arrests pop up in the media but remained on the show because she had been up front about it from the start. Clark also sued MTV in 2012 for $40 million after accusing their news correspondent Jim Cantiello for making false accusations against Clark and calling for a boycott of his music.
Two years after Idol, Clark went on ABC’s Primetime Live to discuss his book and he himself said that his controversial relationship with Idol judge, Paula Abdul, contributed to his dismissal (although that allegation was never deemed to be true.) Clark who claims he was falsely targeted for his criminal past had, previously to Idol, been sued by Wal Mart and another retail store for passing bad checks. Post Idol, Clark was cited and released for a misdemeanor battery charge; his wife filed for a domestic violence protection order; he was arrested for suspicion of violating a court order in regards to the protection order and later pled guilty to charges of felony aggravated harassment involving domestic violence.
Clark is also on board with accusations that the show ruined his life, yet the Idol was a platform (despite his controversies) that led to a collaborative season 2 soundtrack that went Gold; his own album with collaborations with The Black Eyed Peas; appearances on The Surreal Life, New Music Weekly Awards, The Howard Stern Show, Only in LA, Soul Train; and also appeared on the cover of People magazine, Steppin’ Out magazine and New Music Weekly magazine.
Whether or not the accusations in the lawsuit are true, or will even hold up in court, the facts speak for themselves and Corey’s criminal record and success after the show see like pretty good indicators that life after Idol; is what you make it.
The moral of the story kids is to be honest with producers when they ask you about your past; you can’t have skeletons in your closet, be on a hit show and expect to keep secrets.
Reps for FOX and FreemantleMedia have not yet released a statement regarding the lawsuit.