The strongest contender for the next Stella Award* comes early this year, by way of nine women who are filing suit against RCA and Sony/BMG, for deceiving them about Clay Aiken's alleged homosexuality. Aiken, whose fifteen minutes of fame ended about six months ago, was the subject of a recent tabloid article accusing him of trolling gay chat rooms for casual sex. Though the story is so far unsubstantiated, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, identified only by their first names in order to avoid being hunted down and slaughtered by other rabid Clay Aiken fans, claim that RCA and Sony/BMG willfully misrepresented Aiken as "virginal and asexual," and that "this is tantamount to a manufacturer concealing information about a defective product."
You know, just when you think you've lived long enough to hear everything, along comes a lawsuit comparing a second-rate pop singer to a Ford Pinto. I really can't even begin to count how many shades of WTF this is. All legalese aside, they are suing because Aiken was neatly packaged and marketed to fans as a vanilla-sweet, utterly harmless manchild who probably doesn't have a single strand of hair on his entire body, without mentioning that he (allegedly) likes to smoke the long bone. Hey, ladies? Former "Claymates"? I have a secret. Julia Roberts wasn't really a hooker before Richard Gere fell in love with her. Michael Jackson is black. And Christopher Reeve couldn't actually fly. I know that the possibility that Clay Aiken might be gay is just too much for your pea brains to comprehend right now, but they must. Do you know why? Because it's none of your fucking business. How about that? Yeah, none of your fucking business. Oh sure, you voted for him on American Idol until your dialing fingers bled, and you purchased his CD, probably around the same time you renewed your subscription to Soap Opera Digest and picked up season three of The Bachelor. I'm sure Clay thanks you for the money, but unless he's molesting children or stomping puppies to death, what he does in his off-time from creating elevator music of the future is none of your concern.
Even if Clay Aiken appeared on American Idol wearing a t-shirt that read I LIKE GIRLS or called his album Measure of a Man Who Enjoys Eating Pussy, it's still a bit incongruous to compare his (alleged) gayness to a "defective product," as if to imply that he is broken or damaged somehow. What is the issue here, the fact that he might be gay, or the fact that his record company didn't put out some sort of statement proclaiming him as such before he released his first album? Would that have somehow minimized his talent, negated his image as a sweet-faced choirboy who wouldn't want anything more out of you than to share a plate of fries at the Shake Shack? You can't share fries with a gay boy? Granted, I can't say I've followed Clay Aiken's career all that closely, but it seemed to me that there's been a question mark regarding his sexuality from the beginning. Then again, I'd be willing to guess that all nine of these "fans" have their heads pretty far wedged up their own asses as far as celebrities are concerned, fully believing that the image they uphold is a 100% honest representation of themselves. These are the type of women who would approach Hugh 'House' Laurie on the street and hit him with their purses for being so mean to that nice Dr. Cuddy. Their idea of "gay" is that Carson Kressley/Sean Hayes flamboyant "girlfriend, please!" kind of gay, where someone's sexuality enters the room before they do. Clay Aiken is (allegedly) perpetuating that deceptive kind of gay, where he treats his sexuality as a personal matter, and for that he must pay.
Hey, while we're at it, why don't we retroactively sue George Michael and Elton John for all the years they deceived us? Elton John was married to a woman for a brief time, we can get him for gayness with malice forethought. Let's also hit up the estates of Rock Hudson, Liberace, and Freddie Mercury while we're at it. And let's not forget Rosie O'Donnell, let's not let her slide for that malicious myth she perpetuated upon the public of being madly in love with Tom Cruise. Let's take it one step further and slap a lawsuit on Britney Spears for dragging out that "I'm a virgin!" shit until only her most devoted fans still believed her. The mind reels when you attempt to think about how much money could roll in if you attempted to sue every celebrity who was discovered to be not entirely honest about themselves. Nevertheless, there still remains the question of what fucking business is it of ours? Clay Aiken's gay? Good for him, like I give a shit. I hope his next album features a cover of Sylvester's '(You Make Me Feel) Mighty Real'. I wish they hadn't cancelled Queer as Folk, just so he could appear in a guest starring role. Then hopefully that would make things nice and clear for his fans. The ones who like him for his music (as questionable as their taste may be) will stick around, and the ones who thought he was their imaginary boyfriend will scurry away to obsess over some other teenybopper whose testicles haven't dropped yet.
Henry Rollins recently stated that fans of James Frey deserved whatever deception they got because a.) they were influenced to read his book by a TV personality, and b.) they should have known better than to trust anything a drug addict says. I think the same holds true for the plaintiffs in this lawsuit. The entire point of American Idol is to take aspiring singers, most of them marginally talented at best^, and rework them into some sort of manufactured image of what consumers want in a bland, unremarkable pop star who will sell a few million albums without creating too much controversy before happily skipping away into obscurity. Clay Aiken started the show as an out of shape, goofy-looking, bespectacled zit with ill-fitting clothes and a bad haircut, and ended it a thinner, slightly less goofy-looking, spectacles-free zit with better fitting clothes and a bad haircut. He was a creation, a construct, sold as the ultimate American Idol, or rather, the second-place American Idol, as the actual winner was the openly fat Ruben Studdard. Anybody who bought the image he projected (or the image that was projected on him) as a wholly accurate portrayal of himself, and moreover, believes that his (allegedly) being gay somehow taints that image, deserves whatever disappointment they get. If this lawsuit makes it to a judge, I hope he or she orders the plaintiffs and their lawyer to be locked in a room for a week with only a single can of Vienna sausages between them to survive, while William Hung's Inspiration is blasted through a loudspeaker.
*Named for Stella Liebeck, the 80 year-old woman who successfully sued McDonald's after burning herself with hot coffee.
^I suppose Kelly Clarkson's okay, From Justin to Kelly notwithstanding.
Link originally found through Pandagon.