Steve Tyler and Clay Aiken

The same evening that Clay Akin suffered a 59 to 41% clubbing in his bid unseat North Carolina Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers NBC Universal’s Esquire Network announced a reality-series about Aiken’s campaign that would air in early 2015. Some Los Angeles donors to Aiken’s campaign were angered by the news, they signed wavers to be filmed for a BBC documentary not a reality show and now they feel duped.

The four-hour series will follow his life in politics as he hopped on campaign tour buses, held strategy meetings, glad-handed at fund raisers and went door-to-door to canvass voters in the run-up to the midterm. It also covered a Sept. 30 fundraiser at the hilltop Los Angeles home of Extra correspondent Michael Corbett, which has now become an issue.

According to FrontiersLA some of those who attended the fundraiser at Corbett’s house, organized by actor/producer Steve Tyler (pictured above with Aiken), now want the filmmakers to edit them out. Tyler told Variety he is furious, having received angry calls from friends personally invited to the fundraiser who called after they heard the news.

I do my homework before raising money for any candidate or cause. I refuse to ask my friends to donate money for something that I do not wholeheartedly believe in. Not only did Clay have me convinced that he was the man we needed to send to Congress, but he convinced everyone at the LA fundraiser.

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It was the first fundraiser I have done in 20 years where almost every attendee wrote an additional check on their way out. They thought they were making a good investment.

And Clay was a hard sell in LA because we were making donations to our own local and statewide races and donors thought of him as an entertainer and not a representative of “the people.”

I think Clay’s idea of documenting his race was a good one. It’s very important that we learn just how much a candidate puts into the job from the very beginning. What I disagree with is him personally benefiting from that documentary (as a reality series). And those of us who signed releases were told it was for air on BBC only and not in the US.

Tyler also sent an angry email to Aiken which included the political version of the Hollywood cliche’, “you’ll never work in this town again.”

Hi Clay

Again, I am sorry for the loss on your bid for Congress, but apparently you had yourself covered with a reality TV show deal the entire time, just in case you didn’t win. I cannot speak for the NC Voters or contributors, but I can speak for myself and many of your Los Angeles supporters when I say we feel duped, taken advantage of and lied to. When we were asked to sign waivers by your film crew, we were told it was for a BBC documentary that would not air here in the United States.

I have received calls from many supporters at the LA fundraiser all demanding that the LA event not be included in your TV show, as the crew misrepresented use of the filming. It is obvious you had this TV deal prior to the votes being tabulated as GOOD MORNING AMERICA announced the deal just hours after votes were barely in.

On a personal level, I worked very hard convincing people of your integrity, viability and the need for them to donate. 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. Your TV deal was announced all over TV yesterday and in the Los Angeles Times today.

It pains me to write this because I so believed your Congressional Campaign was for the right reasons and the greater good. Obviously I misjudged you.


Steve Tyler