Corey Clark may be best remembered as the 2003 American Idol contestant who allegedly had an affair with former judge Paula Abdul, but he wants to be known as a talented singer and is suing Idol to prove it.
He is talking exclusively to RumorFix about a $250 million dollar claim against the FOX talent competition.
After being hailed as one of the most impressive finalists of the second season, Corey made it to the Top Ten. That’s when was disqualified — not for hooking up with Paula — but for allegedly withholding information about a previous arrest.
The 33-year-0ld has always maintained that he never lied to Idol and has been trying for 10 years to get the documents from FOX to prove he never should have been disqualified. And, now the father of three has provided RumorFix with the paper work that he says proves his case.
RumorFix has obtained a background check performed by the network that actually shows his arrest –but not conviction — for resisting arrest and battery in Shawnee County, Kansas. (After the show, he pleaded “no contest” to obstruction of justice.)
He points out that the first page of the background check is dated April 2, 2003, which was two days after he was disqualified from the show. However, the second page of the document, which shows the arrest, is dated January 15, 2003 — which is three months before they axed him. “That means American Idol lied,” he tells us, explaining they knew about the arrest long before he made it to the finals. He also contends he verbally told producers about the arrest.
But what he considers the most incriminating information is the way American Idol puts it’s Top Ten contestants on payroll then allegedly breaks California labor laws by firing them for prior arrests. He provided RumorFix with pay stubs and a deal memo that specifically state Corey became an “employee.”
According to California labor law section 432.7a, an employer cannot question an applicant about arrests that did not lead to a conviction — much less terminate them for that.
Here’s where things get tricky, when Corey filled out the forms, he wasn’t an employee, he was just a contestant, but, “Once you make the Top 10, they make you an employee. It was at that time when they had hired me that they decided to use that illegally obtained information to fire me as an employee, three months after they already knew about the arrest,” he tells us.
And, here’s one more element to his lawsuit– Corey is claiming racial discrimination. Since the show’s inception there have been sixteen contestants who have been disqualified — most due to misdemeanor arrests. Corey says all sixteen have been African Americans.”They have never disqualified a white contestant openly. If they have it was quietly it was done behind closed doors,” he says.
What about Joanna Pacitti from 2009? Corey points out she was deemed “ineligible” because of her connection to the production company that produces Idol. “There’s a huge difference between disqualification and ineligibility,” he adds.
And what about African-American singers Ruben Studdard and Fantasia Barrino — they won the competition?
“We’re not talking about affirmative action … What we’re talking about is the fact that they hired black people and then only fired black people for criminal arrest information. Never anybody else,” he concludes.
You can see his interview here.