'Idol 4' quitter Mario Vazquez sued over alleged sexual harassment
By Christopher Rocchio, 03/13/2007
When Mario Vazquez withdrew from the fourth season of American Idol due to "personal reasons," it left viewers wondering why the popular finalist cut his journey on the Fox mega-hit short. Now, two years later, another reason for Vazquez' departure may be forthcoming.
Vazquez has reportedly been sued -- along with Idol -- by an ex-employee of the reality competition series who claims he was fired for complaining he was sexually harassed by Vazquez. Magdaleno Olmos, a former assistant production accountant with FreemantleMedia, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court accusing Vazquez of sexual harassment as well as claiming Idol fired him once he reported it, Access Hollywoodreported on Monday.
"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," reads the lawsuit. "[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."
The lawsuit further claims that despite Olmos attempting to stop Vazquez, the Idol 4 hopeful persisted, and the incident allegedly ended with Vazquez asking Olmos "if he wanted oral sex."
Vazquez withdrew from the fourth season of Idol before the finals began for "personal reasons." Shortly thereafter, it was reported that Vazquez hired Jess Rosen, an Atlanta entertainment lawyer famous for extricating American Idol 2 runner-up Clay Aiken from his Idol management contract last year, to represent him.
"[It] has nothing to do with my family, nothing to do with me being sick, nothing like that," Vazquez told Access Hollywood at the time. "Basically there will be lots of hearsay on certain things."
Last fall, during publicity interviews for his then newly released debut album, Vazquez stated that dissatisfaction with Idol's restrictive contract and a desire to not have to do "safe pop music" were the reasons behind his departure..
In his lawsuit, Olmos claims that he tried to report the incident to a superior at Idol, who allegedly responded by telling Olmos that "he was crazy." Olmos also alleges the supervisor said if he "did not stop complaining about his supervisor's hostile treatment of him, [Olmos] would 'cry [himself] out of a job' and not be back for Season 5."
That is exactly what Olmos claimed happened, as he was "terminated" a few months later. In addition to suing Vazquez, Olmos has named FOX Entertainment and FremantleMedia as defendants in his lawsuit for wrongful termination and violation of California's Fair Employment and Housing Act.
"We haven't been served, but we wouldn't comment on pending litigation," a representative from Fox told TMZ.com.
Since he left Idol, Vazquez has worked with producer Clive Davis and released his first single "Gallery" in both English and Spanish last March. At the end of December, Vazquez toldUS Weekly he was currently promoting his debut album and rebuilding his relationship with his estranged father.