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'American Idol' to Benardo: Dismiss Suit or You'll Pay

9/23/2010 9:00 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

"American Idol" is firing back at Ian Benardo, warning the former contestant to dismiss his lawsuit ASAP, or he'll end up paying the show's enormous legal defense costs.

Ian Bernardo
As we previously reported -- Benardo sued "Idol" in federal court in New York last month, claiming "Idol" producers "exploited" his sexual orientation by asking him to "gay it up" on their show.

"Idol" lawyers shot back last week with a letter reminding Benardo that he long ago signed an agreement releasing the show from any liability.

The agreement reads, "I [Benardo] further understand that my appearance, depiction and/or portrayal in the Program may be disparaging, defamatory, embarrassing, or of an otherwise unfavorable nature which may expose me to public ridicule, humiliation or condemnation."

"Idol" lawyers also claim Benardo's contract clearly states that if he sues them and loses, he's going to have to pay all their legal fees -- and you can bet "Idol" lawyers don't come cheap.

UPDATE: Benardo tells TMZ, "I will see them in court. They want me to be quiet about this and I’m not going to back down just because they are a major tv show." 

32 COMMENTS

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1.

Big Daddy    

Is this guy related to that Oksana chick? Just sayin

1304 days ago
2.

maya    

American Idol asked him to "Gay it up" ??? I say he's like this everyday in his life and just looking for attention. Looking for free money, want's to be noticed and he is doing that, only in a bad way because people are just laughing at him. I'd be humiliated knowing that people are laughing at me. Crawl under a rock and go away you mooch.

1304 days ago
3.

Bob    

telling Bernardo to "gay it up" is like telling Snooki to "dumb it down".

1304 days ago
4.

justsaying    

Geez!!
His parents truly should have gone to the movies that night.

1304 days ago
5.

CGS    

Take this little bitch down!

1304 days ago
6.

Zippy T. Pinhead    

In the world we live in today, this little turd will probably end up with a talk show or something. It's pretty obvious the Idol lawyers dotted and crossed everything. So this little piss-ant will lose and end up with a hefty lawyers bill.

1304 days ago
7.

jaded    

If it was a woman being told to "sex it up" she would win the money or the situation would have never happened. I hope Ian (who I have met before and is a nice guy) wins this lawsuit.

1304 days ago
8.

Tony    

People agree to this?
"I further understand that my appearance, depiction and/or portrayal in the Program may be disparaging, defamatory, embarrassing, or of an otherwise unfavorable nature which may expose me to public ridicule, humiliation or condemnation."

WTF?!

1304 days ago
9.

S    

While the indigence he feels at being asked to essentially be a stereotype on a national TV program is understandable, he did sign the waiver. His chances of successfully winning this lawsuit are slim to none. It's not worth the financial risk. I'd hate to see this guy have massive debt because he has to pay ABC's legal bills.

1304 days ago
10.

mary    

And American Idol better be careful because Benardo will be wearing that boa feather wrap and flinging those hands and hips all over the place. He will be a gay force to be reckoned with...and some still wonder what is wrong with homosexuality.

1304 days ago
11.

UpsideDownTire    

The agreement reads, in part, "...further understand that my appearance, depiction and/or portrayal in the Program may be disparaging, defamatory, embarrassing, or of an otherwise unfavorable nature which may expose me to public ridicule, humiliation or condemnation...." What idiot would sign that?!

1304 days ago
12.

JLS    

If AI is having contestants sign that kind of hold harmless do***ent then I'd say they have an obvious intent on treating a contestant rather poorly. All of what they want a free pass on is rather poor treatment of any human. Read it carefully. Nasty little tv show. I have no interest in it anymore anyway. The judges are a joke.

1304 days ago
13.

JPK    

This is a major problem with society. Over sensitive, litigious a-holes. Quit being a ***** go get a job to make money instead of trying to sue and get rich over some bs that you signed up for. jebus

1304 days ago
14.

Crystal    

Guess he will regret signing that contract now! LOL!

1304 days ago
15.

C    

that is one pathetic gay boy. Gays must be shaking in their loafers right now, thinking this queen is making them look bad. Don't worry gays, he will get his due soon.

1304 days ago
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