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Idol Chit-Chat
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Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Latest on the Sexual Harassment Scandal

Here’s the latest on the sexual harassment lawsuit filed last week…

Magdaleno Olmos’ lawyer, Matt Matern, is now speaking out. Here’s what he told “Access Hollywood” about Mario Vazquez’s departure from the show…

The executive producers, Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick, and the attorneys for “American Idol” met with Olmos to find out what happened and then interviewed Mario. They brought Olmos back for a second interview and Lythgoe told Olmos “We know that this happened and we are going to let Mario Vasquez go, and you’re going to stay.” Matern added, “I believe [Mario’s departure] was not voluntary in any way shape or form.”

Matern also said that because of the alleged harassment, Olmos asked to see a psychologist. But according to Olmos, the only psychologist the show would allow him to see was the one previously seen by Mario (I presume this is the famous “Idol psychiatrist” we just learned about through Sundance.). Matern said Olmos was fired following “an incident” when Olmos said he was going to see a doctor and he was told he “was not excused to go see this doctor.”

According to Matern, the only reason Olmos was fired was because “he complained about being sexually harassed and his supervisor and the ‘American Idol’ people didn’t want him there.”

The lawsuit comes in just under the wire for the two-year statute of limitations on wrongful termination lawsuits in the state of California. So why the delay? As Jim already speculated, settlement talks had stalled, according to Mahern. He said that the attorneys for the production companies and “Idol” had encouraged Olmos to go after Mario since he was “the wrongdoer;” but then said it was a “consensual relationship” and they were not liable. Matern said it was this “contradiction” that led to the breakdown in negotiations.

Mario’s attorney has yet to comment…