American Idol sued for 300m

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 28 July 2010
Simon Cowell

Former American Idol judge Simon Cowell

'American Idol' is being sued for $300 million by a former contestant who claimed that producers ''exploited his sexual orientation''

'American Idol' is being sued for $300 million by a former contestant.

Ian Benardo - who failed to make it past audition stages in 2006 - claims that producers "exploited his sexual orientation" when he was invited to return to the reality show for the live finale in May this year.

He claims he was told to "act more f**gy" for his appearance.

Legal documents filed with the New York State Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Monday (26.07.10) by Ian allege that producers had previously "exploited his sexual orientation" at auditions in 2006, telling him to "gay it up" and encouraged him to perform the stunt in May.

According to the New York Daily News, the papers allege that the 'American Idol' set "was permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, insults and hostile and offensive comments."

He said: "I became a paid employee when they asked me back. Only after that did I start hearing, 'Why don't you act more f**gy?'

"They encouraged me to be totally outlandish, they wanted me to dress in drag and kept using anti-gay slurs to tell me how to behave."

In the series finale, Ian stormed the stage, stole a microphone from comedian Dane Cooke, and began verbally abusing judge Simon Cowell, saying: "I'm more entertaining than you."

Ian claims this outrageous behaviour was encouraged by bosses on the show, although they deny this.

He said: "They said that it was live TV and anything was OK as long as I didn't curse. It was a big wink-wink, so I did what I thought I was supposed to do."

He claims one of the show's producers also told him that Dane wanted to "shove this mic up you're a*s, but you would like it."

Ian is seeking damages for emotional injuries and for loss of employment opportunities.

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