What is the price of superstardom? Ask American Idol winner Philip Phillips. The season 11 alumni has launched a petition with the California Labor Commissioner, seeking to void his recording, management, and merchandising deals with 19 Entertainment.
“I have not felt that I have been free to conduct my career in a way that I am comfortable with,” says Phillips.
Phillips claims that 19 Entertainment has manipulated him into making appearances, forced him to perform for free at a concert for one of Idol’s sponsors, and that he found out the title of his last album, Behind the Light, when it was released to the public. Ouch.
The petition is based on the Talent Agencies Act, a California law that states only licensed talent agents can solicit work for their clients. While 19 Entertainment has “procured” gigs for Philips such as performing at the NBA All-Star Game, and appearing on shows such as The Today Show and Ellen, it is not licensed as an agent. According to Phillips’ petition, this constitutes a “pattern and practice of flagrant violations” of the TAA.
If Phillips is successful in voiding his contracts as a violation of the TAA, the consequences will be widely felt, impacting other contestants on Idol as well as other reality TV competition shows.
“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 spokesperson for 19 Entertainment told The Hollywood Reporter.