‘American Idol’ contestant sues MTV for $40 million

Published: July 8, 2012

Lawsuit says MTV News correspondent Jim Cantiello falsely attacked Clark as a liar, called for a boycott of his music. PHOTO: REUTERS/ FILE

NEW YORK: A singer who competed on the second season of American Idol, filed a libel lawsuit on Thursday against MTV Networks for more than $40 million, claiming he was unfairly ridiculed by one of its news reporters.

The lawsuit claims that after Corey Clark was disqualified from American Idol, having reached its Top 10 finalists, MTV News correspondent Jim Cantiello falsely attacked Clark as a liar and called for a boycott of his music.

Clark was disqualified on March 31, 2003, after Idol officials learned he had faced three misdemeanor charges, including one battery charge involving his sister. He was later acquitted of two of the three charges and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, the lawsuit said.

Clark’s lawsuit said Cantiello, who wrote for MTV as an expert on Idol, defamed the singer in a series of online posts from early 2007 through July 2011. In them, he described Clark as a “degenerate,” accused him of lying about the charges, falsely called him an “alleged sister-beater” after the charges were dropped, and instructed readers to boycott his debut album.

Additionally, the lawsuit states that Cantiello repeatedly ridiculed Clark about a relationship with Idol judge Paula Abdul, saying Clark had invented the romance. The lawsuit claims Clark and Abdul were, in fact, involved.

MTV’s parent company, Viacom Inc, also was named in the suit, which was filed in Tennessee District Court in Nashville.

Representatives from Viacom and MTV could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Reader Comments (1)

  • California attorney
    Jul 12, 2012 - 4:55AM

    That is the distinction here that I believe Clark is alleging, that what we the public think we know as facts, are indeed fictitious false statements made about Clark by Idol and Viacom to shed Clark in an unfavorable false light. “If” Clark is telling the truth, Viacom and anyone else who defamed Clark are going to be in trouble for this. Not only would that prove that what they did worked, it would also make Clark victorious in this lawsuit after enduring that many years of defamation. The kicker here according to the complaint on E! Online is that Clark made Viacom aware years ago that what they were broadcasting and publishing about him was indeed defamatory and they continued to disseminate knowingly false facts about Clark anyway with reckless disregard for the truth and facts to further whatever agenda the writer seemed to have on his crusade against Clark, without retracting their statements about him and the libelous information is still available online after being put on notice that it was defamatory. This doesn’t look too good for Viacom. So many people are under the false impression that freedom of the press grants the press the uncontested right to say anything about anyone that they want to and that’s not the law..in fact it’s abusive of the law and makes things worse for actual journalists with integrity, but I’m just a lowly attorney from California who isn’t on this case so what do I know right?? ;o)

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