Phillip Phillips wants out of "oppressive and fatally conflicted" contract with 'American Idol' production company
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 01/27/2015
Phillip Phillips, although still grateful to American Idol for jump-starting his music career, is fed up with the show's 19 Entertainment co-production company and has filed a claim to void his contract with them.
The California Labor Commissioner received a complaint on January 22 saying the eleventh-seasonAmerican Idol winner is claiming producers have "manipulated" him and made an unacceptable amount of money off his successes since his May 2012 victory, Entertainment Tonight reported.
Phillips is therefore looking to void his management, recording and merchandising agreements with the producer for feeling tricked into accepting jobs and entering transactions that were solely for the alleged benefit of 19 Entertainment and its affiliates.
According to court documents obtained by ET, Phillips said he "remains grateful [to American Idol] for the opportunities provided to him to demonstrate to the world and capitalize upon his talent, creativity and diligence," however, "the appreciation does not extend to the oppressive, fatally conflicted 19 Entertainment, Inc."
"The value that the fans and the show have given to my career is not lost on me," Phillips toldThe Hollywood Reporter. "However, I have not felt that I have been free to conduct my career in a way that I am comfortable with. I look forward to being able to make my own choices about my career and to being able to make great music and play it for my fans."
Phillips has reportedly accused 19 Entertainment of violating the Talent Agencies Act and forcing him to perform strange gigs for free such as a live show promoting Idol's sponsor Jet Blue and singing at a corporate event for an insurance company -- none of which really boost his fame. He claims the production company often earns as much as 40% of his paid endorsement deals and withholds important information from him regarding his career.
19 Entertainment, for example, reportedly announced the title of his most recent album "Behind the Light" to the media without his prior knowledge or approval.
In reply to Phillips' allegations and complaints, 19 Entertainment has released a denial.
"We're very proud of everything we've accomplished together with Phillip, working closely to help nurture his extraordinary talent and advance his career," a production company representative told The Reporter in a statement. "We have always acted in the best interest of Phillip. We will vigorously defend ourselves from any baseless claims to the contrary and from any attempt to interfere with our rights and relationships."
The 24-year-old guitarist and singer, who is being represented by attorney Howard King at King Holmes Paterno & Berliner, has released major hits including "Gone, Gone, Gone" and "Home."
American Idol is currently airing its fourteenth season on Wednesday and Thursday nights on Fox.