NASHVILLE (CN) - A former "American Idol" contestant claims in court that Fox kicked him off the "scripted" show on a pretext, then defamed him by claiming he is a liar who never had a sexual relationship with former show judge Paula Abdul.
Corey Clark sued E! Entertainment Television, Fox Inc., and two law firms: Gibson Dunn Crutcher, and Morrison & Foerster, in Federal Court.
He alleged libel, false light and invasion of privacy.
Clark claims he was "altogether unwillingly" cast in the 2002 season "as a principal performer to occupy a fictional role, namely, 'American Idol's' premier villain in a scripted television show."
Clark, who calls the entertainment defendants and their corporate parents the "IDOL-RING," claims: "The writers and producers behind IDOL-RING knew exactly when Corey Clark would be publicly disqualified from the 'contest' as well as when plaintiff would be resurrected again as the lover of (former) 'American Idol' judge Paula Abdul. [Parentheses in complaint.]
"The problem is that unlike professional actors who are retained to play the fictional role of a villain for the duration of a scripted series, and who are able to thereafter resume their ordinary lives as upstanding citizens in the community, plaintiff here has been typecast by Idol as the villain for the remainder of his entire real life, and presumably for the lives of his natural-born heirs as well, who shall, in the absence of this court's award of relief, read all about the false and defamatory statements made about plaintiff on the worldwide Internet."
Clark claims that when he auditioned for the show he told a producer about misdemeanor charges pending from his arrest on Oct. 12, 2002. Clark, then 22, says he was babysitting his 15-year-old sister and refused to let her leave their parents' home in Topeka, Kan., and police were called. All the charges against him were dropped on Nov. 18, 2002, according to his 44-page complaint.
When he auditioned, on Nov. 4 that year, Clark says, the charges had not yet been dropped. He says he told an Idol producer about his arrest, and the producer "told plaintiff not to worry about it."
In a section of his lawsuit titled "Abdul Solicits Plaintiff," Clark claims: "Shortly after Clark's performance on December 11, 2002, American Idol Judge Paula Abdul, who was publicly magnetized by what she described as Corey Clark's 'star quality,' initiated communications with plaintiff via her backstage assistant and promptly offered to be his 'special friend.'
"Within hours of first speaking to Abdul on her home telephone, Abdul sent a private car service to pick Corey Clark up and transport him to her home."
According to the complaint, Clark apparently won Abdul's regard in "an unprecedented showing of audacity" when he "kissed Paula Abdul's hand, much to the delight of Abdul," during his audition. He claims he got "high marks" for it, although judge Randy Jackson "critiqued plaintiff for singing off key."
He claims that his audition won him his "'Golden Ticket' to Hollywood" as one of 234 contestants for the show's second season. He says in the complaint that he "was extremely confident in his chances to win the entire contest in season two."