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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 2

Analysis: 'American Idol' winner Ruben Studdard may have real grievance over '205' jerseys

By Wade Paulsen, 06/12/2003 

Does American Idol winner Ruben Studdard have a legitimate grievance with 205 Flava, the company that provided the "205 jerseys" that Ruben wore during the filming of Idol? Further research on our part indicates that the answer is: maybe so.

As we discussed in this previous story, Ruben has said that he had issues with the "values" of


205 Flava. It turned out that he was actually upset because he hadn't received an endorsement deal from them. Since 205 Flava is under no obligation to sign him to an endorsement deal, we reacted negatively to Ruben's comments.

However, the comments seemed out of character for Ruben, so we did some more digging on our own. We ended up viewing the 205 Flava web site. After looking at this site, it appears as if Ruben had reason to be upset.

While use of a picture or two of Ruben on the 205 Flava site would certainly be acceptable, since he did wear their jersey, the number of pictures of Ruben used ... and the pervasiveness of those pictures throughout the site ... may well amount to a misappropriation of Ruben's commercial image if the pictures are being used without permission or compensation. Thus, our first reaction to the story -- that Ruben was ungrateful for the items provided to him when he was just a semifinalist -- may have been overblown.

Without knowing more details about the discussions between Ruben and 205 Flava (to date, we have not heard from either side), we can't know whether Ruben has a legitimate grievance or not. But he may. We'll update this story as we learn more.

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