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'American Idol' finalist Corey Clark disqualified and booted; replacement uncertain


By Wade Paulsen, 04/01/2003 

The Associated Press reports that Corey Clark, one of the nine remaining finalists on American Idol, has been dismissed from further participation in the show for failure to disclose his pending battery charges, effective immediately. No decision has yet been been made about how to handle the show's episodes this week in the wake of his departure.

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As discussed here yesterday, The Smoking Gun website had discovered that Clark, who had previously been charged with passing bad checks, was arrested in his hometown of Topeka, Kansas last October and charged with three misdemeanors: battery against his 15-year-old sister, resisting arrest, and criminal restraint. Clark has a court appearance on these charges scheduled on April 15. Within 9 hours of the report being published, Fox issued a press release (see below) booting Corey from the show.

Corey's continued participation had opened Fox up to charges of discriminatory treatment when compared to the quick heave-ho given to Jaered Andrews, who was given the bum's rush from Idol after being charged with assault. Jaered, who may have made his own comments on the incident exclusively here, was removed immediately after being named a finalist -- while Corey was able to compete in front of American prime-time audiences for weeks despite being accused of at least as serious of an offense.

The scandal-plagued Idol 2 cast also included Frenchie Davis, who was booted due to her appearance in supposed child pornography, and still includes Trenyce, aka Lashundra Cobbins, who was once placed in a diversion program after being charged with felony theft. No word yet on whether Idol will hire a probation officer to monitor future casts during their Hollywood Hills seclusion ... or whether future perfomances will be done using a ball-and-chain as a prop.

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FULL FOX PRESS RELEASE:

Due to events that have recently come to light, American Idol participant Corey Clark has been removed from the contest.

All participants are required to provide full and accurate information to assist in background checks, including disclosure of any prior arrests. Corey withheld information about a prior arrest which, had it been known, might have affected his participation in the show. Due to his failure to disclose, compounded by an error in a police report which misspelled Corey's name, the incident was not discovered during the background check. The producers and network feel that Corey's behavior warrants his disqualification.

Unfortunately, the search process is not perfect. We regret the error, but the only thing we can do is learn from the incident, continue to improve the background check process, and move on.



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