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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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16.

Olga    

IAN BENARDO FOR PRESIDENT! I LOVE IAN BENARDO !!!!!

1408 days ago
17.

Olga    

Honestly people are hating on Ian Benardo because they are jealous. I hope he wins!

1408 days ago
18.

Jezzy    

I didn't know Joey Chestnut was gay!

1408 days ago
19.

C. Fox    

I'd gladly pay his settlement if he agreed to exile himself to a small, unpopulated island in the South Pacific for the rest of his life.

1408 days ago
20.

Jexica    

If there was any "gaying it up" that was done, I'm pretty sure he did it all himself. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

1408 days ago
21.

Joao    

I seem to recall a clip of him making disparaging, defamatory, embarrassing, and otherwise unfavorable remarks to a stranger who he presumed to be a homeless individual which exposed the stranger to public ridicule, humiliation and condemnation. This was when he thought the guy was stealing his moment. Benardo is so outlandishly flaming that I'm can already imagine, with no knowledge of the setting, that he hammed up his now legendary gay persona specifically to get exposure "my gay this... gay that..., and if you haven't noticed by now, I'm gay" The media can't get enough of feeding over-the-top stereotypes. America loves to hate.

1408 days ago
22.

STFUP    

With that type of specific wording in the Idol contract, he's f**ked! He's gonna be SO sorry when it's ruled that he has no case & must pay Idol's legal fees. LMFAO!

Dumbass.

1408 days ago
23.

STFUP    

#9 - You're an idiot. Read the exact text from the Idol contract. He hasn't got a gay leg to stand on!

1408 days ago
24.

Pat    

he wasn't too upset about it while he was on the show.>>> i guess his image was tarnish by not winning????

1408 days ago
25.

Preston    

The suit is about harassment and not protecting his safety. I think most people here need to read the whole suit to see that that A hole Dane cook threated him. I'm behind him 100% Its not about how he acted its about how AI handled it.!!!

1408 days ago
26.

Barb    

I love this! You should have to pay for the others legal costs when you file a frivolous law suit especially when you already signed on the line that you may be made fun of. If you had any talent you wouldn`t have been embarrassed. Instead you tried to get attention by filing an unwarranteed suit and it backfired on you. Yeah!!

1408 days ago
27.

Menocu    

Is that the wording in the agreement? who would sign such a thing?

1408 days ago
28.

ExSmutStud    

The release form he signed was too vague. What it didn't say is the show practices discrimination and will use your sexuality to set you up for rejection so as to pretend that it isn't gay friendly when anyone with a brain knows otherwise. Seems AI doesn't like its gays to be ethnic east coast. And therein lies the basis of his lawsuit. I hate FOX and I hope that he wins.

1408 days ago
29.

UCan'tHandleTheTruth    

So what's new? AI's contestant pool is way fixed. Its usual suspects are sissy boys, fat blacks, country girls and grunge emos. That's the full extent of the exclusionary demographic. Other 60% of American talent is left out. Bernardo was told to gay it up because he's from the wrong part of the county, has a voweled surname and they needed someone to diss. AI is a sadistic show run by rogues from across the pond who are destroying US pop culture as we speak. I hope they mess with someone and they go postal. AI has already jumped the shark.

1408 days ago
30.

Say What    

More like Ian "Retardo!". Although very entertaining, he got what he wanted...ATTENTION! Give it up my brutha and crawl back under that rock where u belong.

Peace

1407 days ago
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