Another American Idol contestant is in the news, and this time, it’s season 2’s Corey Clark. Clark filed a lawsuit Friday against Fox, E! Entertainment, and others for allegedly defaming him in comments made about his exit from the show as well as his alleged relationship with Paula Abdul. (EW reached out to reps for Fox, E!, and Paula Abdul; A rep for Fox declined to comment, E! says they have not yet been served with the lawsuit so have no comment, and Abdul has yet to respond).
The suit, filed in Tennessee, sues for defamation and false light invasion of privacy, among other similar charges, according to the 44-page court document obtained by EW.
In 2002, Clark auditioned for American Idol and was a finalist contestant before he was disqualified. Idol says he was booted because he failed to disclose a previous arrest. According to the lawsuit, the charges were dropped, and Clark claims he did disclose the original arrest to Idol producers. Clark alleges he was cast in the “villain” role of a “scripted” television program without his knowledge. Concurrently, he began a brief “love affair” with Abdul. While Clark didn’t talk publicly about the affair, he says in the lawsuit that senior producers knew, and that was ultimately the reason he was kicked off the show.
In 2005, Clark decided to write a book about his experiences on the show. While the book never came to fruition, he did have a sit-down interview with ABC News to try to clear his name about why he was kicked off the show and to discuss his relationship with Abdul. After the interview aired, Fox said that they had launched a private investigation into Clark’s claims (using lawyers with a vested interest in American Idol, the suit claims), and a few months later, announced that the results of their investigation found no corroborating reports or evidence about the alleged affair. Clark claims that his reputation was damaged because people thought he’d made up the relationship with Abdul.
After the internal investigation and Fox’s statement about Clark, Clark cites defamatory statements on programs such as VH1 All Access: Embarrassing Moments 2, which called Clark a “hoax.” Later programs, such as E!’s True Hollywood Story on Paula Abdul, which denied a Clark relationship, the lawsuit also refers to as defamatory. Clark says because of the perception of him as a liar, random people would spit at him on the street, and he came close to killing himself.
Clark is seeking a permanent injunction and damages from the court.