- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Idol,’ Mario sued

Can a week go by without an “American Idol” scandal?

Apparently not.

Both the reality show and former season 4 finalist Mario Vazquez are being sued by an ex-employee of the hit Fox series who claims he was fired for complaining of sexual harassment, the syndicated entertainment show “Access Hollywood” reported on its Web site.

Magdaleno Olmos, a former assistant production accountant, filed court papers in Los Angeles Superior Court accusing Mr. Vazquez of harassing him and “Idol” of letting him go for reporting the issue.

In court papers obtained by City News Service in Southern California, Mr. Olmos claims Mr. Vazquez followed him into a bathroom, and opened the door to a stall the “Idol” employee was in. Mr. Olmos further accuses Mr. Vazquez of having touched him in a “sexual” way and propositioning him to engage in a sex act.

According to TMZ.com, the reported incident took place in a bathroom on the set of “Idol” in February 2005. Shortly thereafter, the popular and handsome Mr. Vasquez — then a favorite among viewers — mysteriously dropped out of the competition, citing “personal reasons.”

Mr. Olmos — who is suing for wrongful termination and violation of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act — also claims he complained to a supervisor but was told “that he was crazy, was imagining this and should keep this information to himself because no one would believe his account,” CNS reported.

Calls by City News Service to Fremantle and Fox Entertainment, as well as Mr. Vazquez’s personal lawyer, Jess L. Rosen, were not immediately returned, AccessHollywood.com reported.

VHI tackles autism

VH1 Classic yesterday announced plans for its first-ever pro-social initiative geared toward raising awareness about autism. The “Rock Autism” campaign will kick off with a musical star-studded public service announcement April 1 to mark the start of Autism Awareness Month. The announcement of the campaign’s kickoff was made to cable programmers and affiliates at a luncheon during FORUM 2007, the Cable Television Public Affairs Association’s annual conference, which ends today at the Ritz-Carlton in Northwest.

Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States, affecting one in every 150 children born today. The cause of autism is still unknown and a cure doesn’t exist.

“Rock Autism” will use the influence of VH1 Classic and its connections with classic rock artists to make an impact by bringing awareness about autism to viewers and raising funds for autism organizations. The first 30-second PSA features a lineup of classic rock legends such as Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Roger Daltrey of the Who, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, Tommy Lee and Vince Neil of Motley Crue, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of Kiss, Rob Halford of Judas Priest, Ronnie James Dio, and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister.

A Web site will also be created at www.rockautism.vh1classic.com where viewers can access information on autism, link to autism organizations, and learn about upcoming fundraising events and auctions in conjunction with the initiative.

The lady doth protest

Catherine Crier, host of Court TV’s “Catherine Crier Live” (seen weekdays at 5 p.m.) and a former Texas state judge, will appear in “The Supreme Court Hears the Trial of Hamlet” tomorrow evening at 7:30 in the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater.

A joint presentation of the KenCen and the Shakespeare Theatre Company, this one-time performance of the trial of Hamlet uses the American legal system to explore one of the Bard’s greatest plays. Four prominent attorneys will present the issue to a jury of 12. The experts will be examined and cross-examined regarding Hamlet’s mental state at the time he killed Polonius.

Miss Crier will present arguments defending Hamlet, and Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy will preside over the proceeding.

By any other name

The name of Court TV is getting disbarred.

Turner Broadcasting said yesterday that it will rename its cable channel to reflect a more action-driven lineup, Associated Press reports. The new name won’t be revealed until summer and will take effect at the start of next year.

Fox slays all

Prime-time television’s most-watched shows, along with their networks and viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen Media Research for the week of March 5 through 11 were: 1) “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 28.5 million viewers; 2) “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 27.9 million viewers; 3) “American Idol” (Thursday),” Fox, 27.5 million viewers; 4) “House,” Fox, 24.4 million viewers; and 5) “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” Fox, 20.6 million viewers.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports

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