Author of unauthorized Clay Aiken book sues Clay for defamation

Jeannie Holleman, the author of Out of the Blue: “Clay” It Forward, is suing Clay Aiken. The book’s cover describes it as “An UNAUTHORIZED Tribute To Clay Aiken & His Fabulous Fans.”

Holleman’s lawsuit says that Clay “his mother and others conspired to defame her and depress sales of her book by denying they knew her, branding her stories as lies and demeaning the book on Aiken fans’ Web sites,” according to the AP. In addition, her “lawsuit also claims a bodyguard for Aiken manhandled Holleman at a fundraiser in Hawaii.”

Holleman wants $260,000 and a retraction of Clay’s comments–or an endorsement from Clay. The AP says she’d also like him “to write a positive introduction for the book and to sell the book at his concerts for at least five years.” As if any self-respecting Clay fan would buy the book at the concerts knowing that the author sued their man and forced him to sell the book.

Speaking of self-respecting Clay fans, there were no reviews on the book since March on Amazon.com. But then, miraculously, 17 one-star reviews appeared yesterday and today. Apparently, a bunch of people ran out, bought the book, and then wrote insightful, critical reviews, such as, “I know nothing about it, but I will personally not buy it and put money in the pocket of a woman who is suing him.” Very helpful, thanks. As another reviewer notes today,

“I haven’t read the book myself, but I read all the reviews and find it interesting that from January-March 2006 every single review was 5-star. Then on August 6, 2006 the reviews turned ugly — all written by people who hadn’t read the book either and based on a media story that just broke. What an example of a mindless, easily-manipulated public who doesn’t have the good sense to get the facts before ripping into someone they don’t even know.”

Update: In a statement, Clay said he has:

“instructed my attorneys to not only vigorously dispute the claims that have been made but to also pursue all possible remedies against those involved in the perpetration of these untruths. … As a so-called ‘celebrity’ I have become used to scurrilous allegations and untruths being made about me and my work. I have always taken the path of not reacting to these matters and have accepted them as, somehow, coming with the ‘job.’ However, I cannot, and will not, stand by when these attacks are made on my family.”

‘Idol’s’ Clay Aiken sued by author [AP]
Out of the Blue: “Clay” It Forward [Amazon]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.