A former American Idol employee says he was fired after complaining of sexual harassment by fourth season contestant Mario Vazquez, who left the show under mysterious circumstances.
Specifically, Magdaleno Olmos, who was an assistant production accountant for FremantleMedia, the company that produces the show, says a supervisor “repeatedly threatening to fire” Olmos after he reported the harassment, and was actually fired a few months later. He’s now suing Mario, FOX, FremantleMedia, and others, including 50 as-yet-unnamed people. He wants punitive damages and money for “economic losses, deprivation of civil rights, humiliation, physical anguish, and mental and emotional distress.”
Olmos says that, starting on Feb. 22, 2005, Mario “stared lasciviously” and “smiled lasciviously” at him repeatedly. TMZ has the full lawsuit [PDF], and quotes from key parts describing the major alleged incident, which took place in a bathroom away from the show’s main stage:
“Vazquez stared lasciviously, smiled lasciviously … and on one occasion followed him into a bathroom … knocked on the door of the plaintiff’s stall and made eye contact through the space in the stall door.” The lawsuit alleges that Vazquez “started to rub his genitals over his pants. Attempting to leave the bathroom, Olmos opened the door of the stall and saw Vazquez standing in front of him with his pants down masturbating.” According to the documents, Vazquez pushed Olmos “further into the stall and continued masturbating with one hand and trying to pull down Olmos’ pants with another hand.” Olmos claims that he tried to “cover his body with his hands” but Vazquez touched his “chest and stomach underneath his shirt, and Olmos’ “genitals” as Vazquez “attempted to unzip” Olmos’ pants. Vazquez then allegedly asked Olmos “if he wanted oral sex.” In the lawsuit, Olmos claims that as he “managed to get out of the stall, and attempted to leave the bathroom,” Vazquez, grabbed his arm “in an effort to stop him.” Vazquez continued to call Olmos to come back as Vazquez “stood in the bathroom with his pants still down.”
The lawsuit says Olmos “was afraid to defend himself physically against Vasquez’s sexual harassment and battery for fear of losing his job,” and also says FOX “knew or should have known that Vasquez was gay or was widely rumored to be so.” He says the defendants “engaged in retaliatory, coercive, and vindictive activities” once they learned of his complaint.
Mario broke his silence last fall and said that he left the show because of its restrictive contract, although that made little sense considering the vague “personal reasons” he gave at the time. Access Hollywood notes today that, when he left the show, Mario told the tabloid TV show, “Basically there will be lots of hearsay on certain things.”
Former ‘Idol’ employee sues show, Vazquez [Access Hollywood]