The film crew following singer and former congressional candidate Clay Aiken around this campaign season was shooting footage for a documentary to be aired in the U.S. next year.
According to the website FrontiersLA.com, the sponsor of a Los Angeles fundraiser for Aiken isn't happy about it, saying that attendees were "duped, taken advantage of, and lied to."
For his part, Aiken addressed the controversy in a YouTube video posted Friday. He defended the documentary to be aired on the Esquire Network as a way to shine a light on the political process.
Aiken rose to fame as a contestant on "American Idol" a decade ago. National publications chronicled the campaign of the singer-turned-politician, while acknowledging an Aiken win was a long shot. Incumbent Republican Renee Ellmers trounced him in the 2nd Congressional District race Tuesday.
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In an email to Aiken posted on FrontiersLA.com, fundraiser sponsor Steve Tyler said donors at the event signed waivers after being told that the footage was for a BBC documentary that would not air in the states.
"On a personal level, I worked very hard convincing people of your integrity, viability and the need for them to donate," Tyler wrote. "It all reflects badly on my credibility amongst donors because of your actions. Now it looks like I deceived donors.
"I do hope you realize this prevents you from ever running again for an elected office. You will no longer be credible as someone that wants to help the public more than your need for fame. Had the LA donors known you would personally benefit from their donations and appearance at the event - they would not have donated to your campaign."
Aiken posted a video Friday called "Another Open Door" that's something of a bookend to his campaign announcement. In it, he touched on the documentary.
He talks about the national attention focused on the campaign, and said the documentary offered the "opportunity to bring transparency to an electoral process in desperate need of more openness."
"Neither myself or anyone involved in the campaign had any stake in their work, nor any control over its product," Aiken said.