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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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31.

Arrogant Embryo    

The reason that the release of liability they are forced to sign seems so brutal is because it has to be all encompassing, covering every possible angle of attack in a lawsuit like this one. To the people that are asking "how could you possibly sign such a do***ent?", the answer is obvious, there are 5000 people behind them in line that will and every contestant is expendable. So if you want to participate you have to conform and play the game or "NEXT!"

1422 days ago
32.

AC Bacey    

Well, hey, he's rich, he says. He's very "wealthy" with Chincilla around his neck and he can "afford first class tickets to hollywood", he says. Why should he be concerned if he loses and have to pay all those extra fees? =)

289 days ago
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