stage presence

Calling Ian Benardo A ‘Fag’ Was Merely American Idol‘s Way Of ‘Encouraging’ Him On Stage

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.

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  • The sane Francis

    Well, although I think Ian is pretty much an idiot, I not once doubted the homophobia from AI producers whatsoever towards him and other contestants. And it’s interesting that the excuses are “well, it didn’t consistently happen” or “it was acceptance and encouragement”. Translation: Ian is a faggot, get over it.

    Regardless of what we all feel about Ian, I do hope he gets compensated for what I’m sure he had to deal with. With that said he choose to pretty much go along with what AI producers wanted so it’s hard for me to feel too much sympathy.

  • Cam

    Of COURSE the show is homophobic. But my problem with this case is….if you were so offended, then why comply with the demand?

  • Adrian Acosta

    as someone who has been on American Idol, IN DRAG non the less, I can say that producers seem to care mostly about making “good TV” than they are in being prejudice toward the gays.
    of course not everyone has a positive Idol experience.

    it’s going to be hard for Ian to win his case being that Adam Lambert and Clay Aikin did so well on Idol in the past.

  • Chad

    That queen was not discriminated against. What a loud mouthed bitch. He gives the gay community a bad name. Stop being a bitch!

  • Gwegowee

    Hello – it’s a Fox Network program. Need I say more?

  • Riker

    @Gwegowee: The same network that airs Glee, the most gay-friendly show on any of the Big Four? Yeah, I think you need to say more, since your initial statement makes little sense.

  • Steven

    He’s an idiot. I’m still laughing AT him years later.

  • Red Meat

    He should do stand up, that shit was hilarious. He has the smart mouth to do it.

  • edgyguy1426

    Yeah I thought the lawsuit was laughable when I read about it. That being said, after reading the lawyers excuses for the homophobia, I want full speed ahead.

  • TDroppa

    I feel bad for Ian Benardo. Everybody doubted him at first and now we all see he was telling the Truth from the very beginning. I commend him for not backing down and going full speed ahead with his lawsuit. I never met him so I can’t make any personal judgements against him, but I definitely think he deserves every dime.

  • TDroppa

    Also constantly seeing how TMZ and other media outlets are always bothering him and poking fun of him on their sites/shows etc. makes me feel really bad for him. Cameras bombarded him on TMZ a couple weeks ago and he looked miserable and angry about all of it. I wish him my best.

  • SalineDij

    I still don’t understand why Benardo is so detested throughout the world. It’s not like he killed anyone! And the fact is American Idol admits to calling him all these slurs. Leave the kid alone. I hope he wins his case. He already won IMHO.

  • Rickys

    Ummm….So American Idol says its OK to call someone a fag as long as its over a period of 4 years? Is American Idols lawyer a total moron!

  • justiceontherocks

    This is a motion to Dismiss. In layman’s terms, to win a dismissal the court has to find that even if everything the plaintiff (Bernardo) alleges is true, it still doesn’t entitle him to win a judgment.

    Maybe the people at AI are homophobic – I don’t know. But this court filing doesn’t prove it at all.

  • SalineDij

    @justiceontherocks: Dude….Stop hating on Ian.

  • justiceontherocks

    @SalineDij: “Dude” – learn to read.

  • SalineDij

    @justiceontherocks: I know how to read and I am saying that you shouldn’t say that the homophobic remarks are just “legal terms”. Stop Hating On Mr. Benardo.

  • justiceontherocks

    @SalineDij: You are too dumb to have a discussion with. AI didn’t admit anything. Get your head out of your ass.

  • McMike

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned this but the only homophobia I see on the show is from Ryan Seacrest and it annoys the living daylights out of me since he’s a closet case. Just last night he had people from the first row come up to hug the GAY contestant and Ryan flipped out when a guy tried coming up on stage.

    I am over the fact 99% of the world’s homophobia comes from closeted gay men trying to cover their own queer asses.

    btw, I ran across Ian a few times when living in NYC and as far as I know he’s actually a really nice guy.

  • Jake

    omg it was almost like gay Jersey Shore haha


    @McMike: I never met him but a friend of mine told me he saw him at a restaurant once. He asked to take a picture with Ian and he was super cool and funny.

  • Riker

    I’m torn about this one. If the allegations are true, AI should be punished. However, Ian had the option to simply leave. Nobody was forcing him to stay there. After it happened the first time, he didn’t have to go back. After the second time, he didn’t have to go back again. It seems to me like he didn’t mind it, because he was planning on making some money off of it.

  • Kev C

    Hollywood is New Jersey with celebrities. Haha so true.

  • Theo

    What a complete loser. This guy needs medical intervention. He gives bad image to LGBT community.

  • Jonathonz

    I’ve never heard of the guy, until now, but from what I’ve seen he seems like a total egomaniac with next to nothing to back it up. He thinks he can appear for a professional audition and just tell them he’s amazing?! No Ian, you have to show them what you’ve got and THEY get to decide whether or not you’ve got what it takes. You can’t just show up and camp it up like you’re in a bar full of your drunk friends and expect to get anywhere. Give me a break!

  • Jackson

    @Jonathonz: Did you not understand the case? Ian Benardo was a PAID EMPLOYEE of American Idol. Meaning he is an ACTOR HIRED to APPEAR on the show and portray this CHARACTER. Behind the scenes the producers used homophobic language and slurs against him. THAT IS WHAT this lawsuit is about. Read before you write stupid stuff. Ian Benardo sure does seem to get people riled up LOL

  • Nightcrawler

    Ian Benardo has become the most notorious contestant in American Idol’s history. That being said, it sucks that he is gay because he really does make us all look very bad. BUT if indeed this was all staged and the lawyers did admit to it, Then I feel that Ian should win the case. Ian Benardo’s name has become synonymous with everything bad in the LGBT community. There was a poll on radaronline or one of those sites asking who is the most hated out gay man in the LGBT community and Benardo beat out everyone (Perez Hilton, Ricky Martin, etc.). That poll just shows how disliked Ian is. Sucks to be him.

  • Shannon1981

    Between being unable to get rid of this kid, the girl who committed suicide outside Paula’s house, and other contestants that they just can’t seem to shake, Idol really should rethink putting these nutcases through for time filler and lulz every year. Anyone who sounds and acts like these trainwrecks, but honestly thinks they can sing has a few screws missing, and this type of thing is the result. I can’t believe they honestly think its worth the headache.

  • Nightcrawler

    I think Ian Benardo is the only contestant Idol can’t get rid of. They keep BRINGING HIM BACK season after season and paying him to act outrageous. They know he is great for controversy. That being said…They bit off more than they can chew this time. He is suing and will most likely win in light of the statements that this dumb Lawyer said.

  • Nightcrawler

    Ian Benardo is an Israeli Citizen. Hmm..Interesting.

  • Shannon1981

    @Nightcrawler: There are several who try out year after year that wind up being put through the producers’ rounds to get to the televised auditions for laughs. Most don’t cause real trouble, but still. People like Tatiana Del Toro, for example, turn what could be a real talent competition to turn people into real stars into a bit of a joke. And Ian will likely get $$ off them, you are right. In the end, I just can’t see him and his antics being worth it. That’s JMO though, I am no industry expert by a long shot. Just seems like they’d let go of the train wreck BS, especially after that Paula Goodspeed suicide business. That was bad.

  • Dondstas

    Ian Benardo has always been a controversial character. Every time he appears on TV or the News its for his up to no good antics. He is tabloid fodder for a reason! He causes PROBLEMS everywhere he goes! Definitely somebody we don’t need in the LGBT life. But I do agree that American Idol are a bunch of homophobes.

  • Kay

    @Riker: I don’t see why someone should be held accountable for harassment just because they chose to follow their dream and truck through it. That’s like telling a rape victim it’s their fault for staying around their rapist when they made a pass at them. That just isn’t cool, bro.

  • lmao

    Nice and funny in real life or not just look at him on the show! I’m bi and I have absolutely nothing wrong with gay people but obnoxious people like him just piss me off. And even if he is nice and funny in real life look at the way he treats the judges. He can’t even sing or dance. But when he gets criticized for it he says talks back and says the stupidest things. And just look at him. while the cameraman was following him around “HEY HOW YA BEEN HA ILLEGALS.” … and oh god the man has a british accent! He’s definitely an illegal immigrant! and hahah superstar … you need to be good at something to be a superstar. cant become a superstar like that

  • manuel

    Ian For The Win

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