Phillips says he was "manipulated" by the Idol producer 19 Entertainment

By Tara Fowler
Updated January 26, 2015 05:15 PM
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty

Phillip Phillips is suing to get out of his American Idol contract.

The season 11 winner, 24, filed a petition with the California Labor Commissioner on Jan. 22 claiming that Idol producer 19 Entertainment and its affiliated companies have “manipulated” him, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“I am very grateful for the opportunities provided to me through appearing on American Idol,” Phillips said in a statement.

“The value that the fans and the show have given to my career is not lost on me,” he continued. “However, I have not felt that I have been free to conduct my career in a way that I am comfortable with.

“I look forward to being able to make my own choices about my career and to being able to make great music and play it for my fans.”

The extensive list of complaints includes allegation that Phillips was forced to perform for free for JetBlue, one of the show’s sponsors; that 19 Entertainment gets as much as a 40 percent cut for any of Phillips’ endorsements, and that the company withheld information about his career, including the title of his second album, which he says he didn’t know until it was announced publicly.

His lawyer, Howard King, calls the singer’s various agreements “oppressive” and “fatally conflicted.”

In response, a spokesperson for 19 Entertainment said the company has “always acted in the best interest of Phillip.”

“We’re very proud of everything we’ve accomplished together with Phillip, working closely to help nurture his extraordinary talent and advance his career,” the spokesperson told PEOPLE.

“We will vigorously defend ourselves from any baseless claims to the contrary and from any attempt to interfere with our rights and relationships.”