Ex-'Idol' Employee Sues Show, Mario Vazquez; Claims Sexual Harassment
New light may be shed on the "personal reasons" for which "American Idol" contestant Mario Vazquez surprisingly quit the singing competition two years ago.
In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, a former assistant production accountant for the show alleges Vazquez sexually harassed him and that he was fired for telling a supervisor.
Magdaleno Olmos, who is specifically suing for wrongful termination and violation of California's Fair Employment and Housing Act, is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. Vazquez and the show's owners -- American Idol Productions Inc., Fremantle Media North America Inc., Fox Entertainment Group Inc. and Fox Broadcasting Co. -- are named as defendants.
A spokesperson for Fox said the network has yet to be served with the lawsuit, "but we wouldn't comment on pending litigation." Spokespeople for Vazquez, including his lawyer, did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
Vazquez, the only "Idol" finalist to ever drop out, had been very vague on his departure, with comments such as "I just needed to take care of some things in my life that needed to be focused on" (see [article id="1498063"]"Mario Vazquez Quits 'Idol' -- 'It Wasn't Right For Me' "[/article]).
In his lawsuit, Olmos claims the fourth-season contestant withdrew from the show after the accountant came forward to executives.
The suit also describes in detail an incident in which Vazquez allegedly followed Olmos into a restroom at CBS Studios, where "American Idol" is taped, and "knocked on the door of the plaintiff's stall and made eye contact through the space in the stall door."
When he opened the door, Vazquez became physical with Olmos and asked if he wanted to have sex, according to the lawsuit.
Olmos, who had worked for American Idol Productions since October 2002, claims he later went to a supervisor, who questioned whether he initiated the incident. He was allegedly told nothing could be done, that he would probably be fired, "that he was crazy, was imagining this and should keep this information to himself because no one would believe his account," according to his lawsuit.
He alleges he was fired in May, although that is also when the show wraps each season.
Vazquez released his debut album in the fall on J Records, the same label that traditionally releases "Idol" winners' albums (see [article id="1540976"]" 'Idol' Dropout Mario Vazquez Shows 'Grittier' Side On Debut, Hopes For Spot On Christina Tour"[/article]).
[This story was originally published at 8:38 p.m. ET on 03.12.2007]