Forget the fanfare--one man is accusing the Queer Eye crew of bad taste.
The beef's got nothing to do with Carson Kressley's witticisms or Kyan Douglas' obsession with proper hair-product application; instead, Blair Boone is taking issue with the show's producers, who dropped him as the original culture vulture, a role later assumed by Jai Rodriguez.
Boone has filed a breach of contract lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy producers.
According to a report in the New York Post, the jilted former Fabber is asking for $105,000 in damages from Queer Eye LLC for being dumped after only two episodes of Bravo's hit summer series.
"The producers said NBC and Bravo had to let me go, that it basically had to do with the fact that the show had a different idea with what they wanted to do with the 'culture guy,' " said Boone, who quit a full-time job as an ad manager-writer at Metrosource magazine to join Queer Eye.
Viewers might remember him from the second and third episodes, which aired on July 15 and 22, respectively. Boone was then replaced with Rodriguez, a Broadway veteran whose credits include a stint as Angel in Rent. "It wasn't working out with Blair, and we decided to recast," executive producer and cocreator David Metzler told Entertainment Weekly.
Had the show flopped, that, presumably, would have been the end of it. Instead, the Fab Five became media darlings, taping guest appearances on The Tonight Show and Good Morning, Miami, making cameos at the MTV Video Music Awards and inking a $1 million book deal with Clarkson Potter--Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: The Fab 5's Guide to Looking Better, Cooking Better, Dressing Better, Behaving Better, and Living Better hits bookstores early next year.
Now, Boone wants his share.
"When I see the million-dollar book deal, I have to clench my teeth--that's what I expected to see and [to] be a part of," said Boone, who walked away with a grand total of $6,000 for his two episodes.
Before Boone filed his suit, the show offered him "a little bit" of money to "go away," said his attorney, Ariel Berschadsky.
But the former ad manager believes he's due a grand total of $105,000, the tab for 35 episodes, a "full production year," at $3,000 a pop. "We think this is a serious lawsuit, and we're willing to go to trial," Berschadsky told the Post.
"If they had sat [Boone] down and said it [isn't] working out, we want to offer you X amount of dollars, then everyone leaves happy," he said.
Producers had no comment.
Boone's case could prompt futher Fab Five contenders to come out of the woodwork. According to a former Culture Guy candidate, James Hannaham--who wrote about his experience on Africana.com--only two of the original Queer Eye five from the never-aired pilot made it to air: fashion maven Kressley and food and wine specialist Ted Allen (interior designer Thom Felicia is the remaining member of the makeover troupe). The other three spots were recast after NBC's purchase of Bravo last November.
Worse still, the first Fab Five lineup only earned $2,000 per episode.