Matt Farmer says he lied about military service on 'American Idol'

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 31, 2013 

UPDATE: Matt Farmer admitted he lied about his military story on "American Idol."

In a statement to the Guardian of Valor website, he wrote, "It was ALL lies. I in fact HAVE lied since a younger age and had a problem with it. I am coming out and making a statement (even though I was instructed not to) because i DO want to come clean."

He adds, "I at no time was a sniper, was never deployed to Afghanistan, did a single tour in Iraq, and was never at any time hit or wounded by an IED."

Read the full statement here.

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Wednesday's episode of "American Idol" featured Matt Farmer auditioning in Long Beach, Calif., during a segment that included a story about his military service in Iraq.

Viewers were led to believe that Farmer was injured by an IED, diagnosed with a brain injury and treated with medication that could've made him sterile. He later had a daughter, who joined him at the audition.

Farmer got a four-way "yes" vote from the judges after singing "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke.

Pretty inspiring, right?

Not everyone thought so. Shortly after the show, I came across claims online alleging Farmer's story was bogus. By the end of Wednesday night, the Guardian of Valor website -- also often called Stolen Valor -- was looking into the story.

Now, the site has an article summarizing the skepticism surrounding Farmer and outlining his response.

In the article, an unnamed soldier who served with Farmer alleges, "Matt Farmer is a fraud. He is currently auditioning with American idol under false pretenses. I served with this person from Dec 2005 until he prematurely left theatre for using banned substances specifically medication not prescribed and alcohol."

John F. McManus, who reportedly went through basic training with Farmer, adds, "I saw Matt Farmer on American Idol telling stories of being blown up by and IED, getting medevaced out of theater and being discharged due to TBI, or, Traumatic Brain Injury. This is a bold faced lie to put it nicely."

The website asked Farmer about the allegations. In his response, Farmer acknowledges, "I did drink and overdose on pills."

He attributes the IED story conveyed Wednesday night to misrepresentation on the part of "Idol." Here's an excerpt from his response:

"IM FIRM in the fact that i know i had talked about in over 6 hours of interviews that i discussed certain missions and stuff that we did on a day to day basis…i than mentioned to a producer in an interview that i had an accident while in country and remember 'waking up in kuwait.' This is where this was all pieced together. I am sure you have watched the american idol clip and can realize that it is chopped up."

While describing his reaction to the clip shown on "Idol," he adds, "Actually the first thing that came out of my mouth on the phone with my mother and family was 'i didn’t send them those pictures i only sent ones of me and than ones of my daughter' and they agreed that it seems as though they added these stock pictures in to imply what WASNT said."

Farmer told the site he ended his "Idol" journey on the first day of Hollywood Week.

It's not the first time a reality TV contestant's military history has made headlines. Last year, Timothy Poe auditioned for "America's Got Talent" and told a story about getting hit by a grenade while serving with the military in Afghanistan.

The Minnesota Army National Guard said his military records did not indicate he was injured by a grenade in combat, according to a CNN report.

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