Former 'American Idol' contestant files $42M libel suit against MTV

Friday, July 6, 2012 at 2:38pm

Former American Idol contestant and Middle Tennessee resident Corey Clark is suing Viacom and MTV in a $42.2 million libel suit, claiming the two entities have continued to drag his name through the mud.

Clark first made headlines in 2003 after he was disqualified from the popular FOX talent show. During a TV special on ABC two years later, he claimed he had a romantic relationship with Idol judge Paula Abdul. Expectedly, the headlines kept coming.

But now Clark is claiming that a MTV News reporter continued to disseminate false and libelous statements about him years after his time in the spotlight. Clark filed the lawsuit against MTV and parent company Viacom in U.S. District Court in Nashville on Thursday seeking to rectify the alleged damages.

According to the lawsuit, MTV News reporter Jim Cantiello repeatedly appeared on TV and posted articles online that rehashed false information about Clark. For instance, Cantiello referred to Clark as an “alleged sister-beater” in 2007 — four years after domestic assault charges against Clark were dropped for lack of evidence.

“Defendants’ statement that characterized Plaintiff as an ‘alleged sister-beater’ was made for an improper reason, that is, to expose Plaintiff to ridicule, contempt and disgrace years after he had been exonerated by the State for a charge that never should have been brought in the first instance,” the lawsuit, filed by New York attorney James Freeman, said.

The suit accuses MTV and Cantiello of defamation, trade libel (for calling Clark’s music “laughably bad” in the context of a news setting), misappropriation of image, trade malpractice, false light invasion of privacy and injurious falsehood.

The lawsuit claimed Clark’s disqualification from American Idol was “orchestrated and exploited for maximum media exposure” and that MTV News frequently provided fair coverage of Clark. But the suit said Cantiello had a “vicious campaign to expose Plaintiff to contempt, hatred, disgrace and aversion.”

Clark allegedly attempted to contact Viacom and MTV about the libelous claims and threatened legal action, but they didn’t retract any of the comments.

Part of Clark’s argument claims that MTV News provides objective coverage on many music industry and social issues — and that the inclusion of “tabloid journalism” in a reputable news organization proves the company’s malice.

A call to MTV Press Director Mariana Agathoklis was unreturned as of Friday afternoon.

14 Comments on this post:

By: BigPapa on 7/6/12 at 1:03

Sounds more like $42.00 worth of damage.

By: playthegame on 7/6/12 at 5:03

A dollar two ninety eight!

By: Rasputin72 on 7/7/12 at 1:16

This fellow Clark might be exposing himself to a lawsuit for impersonating a rational human being. In this era of "reality" I just do not think there is much substance to this lawsuit.

There should be a fine for a lawyer filing a frivolous lawsuit.

By: rickmuz on 7/9/12 at 7:03

" now Clark is claiming that a MTV News reporter continued to disseminate false and libelous statements about him years after his time in the spotlight"

I agree with him... his 15 minutes were up a long, long time ago!

Corey WHO?

By: Moonglow1 on 7/10/12 at 7:29

Moonglow1: This is news?

Also who owns the network? Murdock? Another crook.

So what we have here: a publicity seeker suing a crook.

Ok ask me if I care.

With the world going down in flames (war, government run a muck, financial ruin, climate change, tea nut threats), who cares about some idol contestant suing a network run by moguls or mongrels or whatever...

By: jonw on 7/10/12 at 12:31

My, my, isn't Glow-worm all lathered up today? The news is worth all it cost you to read it.
Have another cup of that "change you CAN'T believe in," & settle down.

By: CaliAttorney1 on 7/11/12 at 6:57

Cali Attorney

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 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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