A documentary showcasing Clay Aiken’s Congressional campaign was announced almost immediately following his defeat. But now it turns out that Aiken’s political donors don’t extend their support to his upcoming Esquire Network four-hour docuseries.
Variety reports that donors are asking for footage of a September 30 fundraiser to be removed from the documentary. Donors are complaining that, when the film crew had attendees sign release forms, producers claimed to be filming for a BBC project and that the footage would not be aired in America.
Underlying these complaints are the suspicions that not only did Aiken intentionally misrepresent himself for the documentary, he had a profit motive, which is kind of a big deal if you’re cutting checks to his campaign. In a statement to Frontiers, organizer and producer Steven Tyler addresses Aiken directly, saying, “I can speak for myself and many of your Los Angeles supporters when I say we feel duped, taken advantage of and lied to,” which also sounds like something Aiken fans said when he lost American Idol.
Tyler asserts that had donors known the event would personally benefit Aiken, they wouldn’t have contributed. And according to a source working on the documentary, nobody—including Aiken—was compensated for the project. This clarification actually opens the door to an easy solution: stop calling it a “docuseries,” start calling it a “reality show,” and put its new “stars” on the payroll.