Former American Idol Contestant Loses Libel Lawsuit against MTV
Corey Clark, the former-American Idol participant who gained notoriety for alleging he had an affair with then-judge Paula Abdul, recently saw his $40 million defamation suit against MTV dismissed. The ex-contestant was originally disqualified and removed from the show after concealing the fact that he had been arrested for assaulting his sister.
Clark responded by filing the libel lawsuit back in July 2012 after an MTV reporter published various pieces concerning Clark’s disqualification, including statements characterizing the assault as a “hairy domestic dispute,” and asserting that Clark was “booted for not disclosing his rap sheet.” Fellow DQ’d American Idol contestant Jaered Andrews joined Clark’s lawsuit after feeling that he, too, had been wrongfully characterized after his removal from the show. A report on Andrews noted that he had been “sent home over undisclosed assault charges.” Andrews had, in fact, been previously charged with an assault misdemeanor.
In dismissing the suit, U.S. District Judge William Hanes wrote that the statements at issue where “comments upon or characterizations of published facts.” In other words, these statements were not actionable as libel. Judge Hanes also dismissed Clark’s claims under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, the Tennessee’s Personal Rights Protection Act, as well as Clark’s claim for false light invasion of privacy.
A copy of the opinion is available here:
Clark is currently part of another lawsuit against the American Idol show where he and 9 other former contests have alleged that the show discriminated against African Americans by disqualifying them from the competition in disproportionate numbers. That suit, which took the form of a 429 page complaint filed in New York court last July, is currently facing a similar 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/idol-hopefuls-lean-stats-save-692788).