Not every “American Idol” winner walks away happily ever after.
Deadline reports Phillip Phillips, the 24-year-old Season 11 winner of the popular talent competition on Fox, filed a complaint with the California Labour Producers on Monday against one of the show’s producers, 19 Entertainment.
In the complaint (which you can read in full here), Phillips claims 19 Entertainment violated California’s Talent Agency Act by withholding information from him, failing to pay him for performances and appearances, and making artistic decisions without his approval.
For instance, Phillips says he didn’t get to choose the title of his last album, “Behind the Light,” he was forced to perform for an “Idol” sponsor for free, and 19 Entertainment gets up to a 40% cut of his endorsement deals.
The Hollywood Reporter notes he called the contract “oppressive.”
19 Entertainment denied the allegations, but Phillips’ lawyer told Deadline:
“Phillip appreciates the opportunity provided to him by American Idol and always expected the producers to share the rewards of his subsequent success. However, he never anticipated that the producers would favour their own interests above his career or commit egregious violations of the California’s Talent Agencies Act. Thankfully, California has a long history of protecting artists from being victimized by people illegally operating as de facto talent agencies.”
But ABC News reports Phillips is going ahead and suing, as he feels he has been manipulated. He told ABC in a statement:
“I am very grateful for the opportunities provided to me through appearing on American Idol … The value that the fans and the show have given to my career is not lost on me. However, I have not felt that I have been free to conduct my career in a way that I am comfortable with. I look forward to being able to make my own choices about my career and to being able to make great music and play it for my fans.”
At the end of his petition, Phillips asks a judge to rule that 19 Entertainment broke the Talent Agencies Act, declare his contract illegal and pay Phillips any earnings he could have made were his contract different, among other damages.
A spokesperson for 19 told THR that the Simon Fuller-founded production company would fight Phillips’ petition.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.