NEW YORK (Reuters) – 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.