Ian Benardo is the former American Idol contestant who is once again taking the show and its producers to court — for the third time — over claims he was instructed to play up his gayness for the cameras, which constitutes harassment and discrimination, according to his lawsuit. He’s sued AI for $300 million and $100 million, and now he wants just $5 million. But in a motion to dismiss the suit, lawyers for the show counter that stage instruction for Bernardo to gay it up were in fact “acts of acceptance and encouragement.” American Idol just wanted to show Ian’s best side!
In his new suit filed in January, Bernardo claims he was repeatedly called a “fag” and a “homo” and told to go over the top with his femininity while performing “Gloria.” Attorneys for AI maintain such comments were never made, and if they were a “few sporadic verbal slurs made on three separate and distinct occasions, each lasting only one to a few days, spread out over the course of four years” don’t constitute harassment.
Bernardo, in a word, is flabbergasted. “That just shows how homophobic that show is. For any homosexual to be called a ‘fag’ or a ‘homo’ or being told to ‘gay it up,’ that’s not encouraging.” Well.