'American Idol' contestant admits he lied about military experience

Updated:

None —

An American Idol hopeful from Tulsa won a golden ticket to Hollywood after allegedly lying to the show about his military service.

26-year-old Matt Farmer told American Idol producers his life story prior to the audition in Long Beach, CA.

“I was on a mission in Iraq. An IED exploded… and I woke up in the hospital.”

Farmer said he suffered from a traumatic brain injury and was receiving treatment. He also said the medication he was on would make him sterile but some how he got his wife pregnant and they now have a three-year-old girl.

Farmer’s battle buddies watched his audition on Wednesday night and were outraged. They wrote into a website called “Guardian of Valor.”

The site also has a Facebook page where called "Stolen Valor." The site is designed to “out” people who lie about their military service.

According to the site’s co-owner, an active duty military member who prefers to remain anonymous, it gets hundreds of messages a day. The site owner kindly allowed this information to be shared.

Some soldiers wrote:

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 for using banned substances, specifically medication not prescribed and alcohol.

The theatre was Ar Ramadi Iraq 1Bn 26inf blue spaders 1ID attached to 1-77ar 1ID and 2nd marine expeditionary force. His actions endangered the rest of his platoon and company and forced the rest of the company to be searched in what is called a “health and welfare” for illegal substances.

Sgt David Johnson

And the statements just kept pouring in:

His story on American idol is all lies. He did deploy with us, but never saw combat, never got blown up, never got a TBI and he was kicked out of Iraq because he drank alcohol while he was taking Accutane. I have pics, soldiers numbers, and his army records and timeline of his age and time in service will tell you it all doesn’t line up at all.

Hello, my name is John F. McManus and I would like to make a statement about something that has been brought to my attention. However, to begin with I’d like to state who I am and what my record very clearly shows. I was active duty Army Infantry from September 14, 2005 to February 6, 2010. Upon completion of Infantry basic training and AIT at Fort. Benning, Georgia, I was assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division in Schweinfurt, Germany and arrived early January 2006.

I deployed to Ramadi, Iraq late due to knee surgery and I was boots on ground on 4 January, 2007, and was a part of the troop surge, unit extensions and Operation Murfeesboro.

That being said, 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. Matt Farmer was medevaced from Camp Ramadi, that is true, but the reason he was airlifted out is because of a far different reason. Matt Farmer had an acne problem as young men sometimes do, and his mother was mailing him prescription strength acne medication.

What happened on the night of September 4th, 2007 is the following: Matt Farmer got his hands on some whiskey that another soldier received in the mail.

He proceeded to get drunk throughout the evening and at some point in the night he had a seizure resulting from a reaction between his acne medication and alcohol. He drunkenly gave names of every soldier involved in the incident and even some that weren’t. He was taken from Camp Ramadi that night and wound up back in Germany. He then proceeded to make claims of both PTSD and TBI so that he wouldn’t have to redeploy back to Iraq to face both the consequences of him drinking in theater and also the soldiers that felt betrayed by him.

He spend the remainder of his days in the WTU (Warrior Transition Unit) and was eventually medically discharged for the ailments he claimed, effectively ending his military service somewhere between November ’07 and January ’08. I cannot give you a better time frame for his discharge as I was home on 45 day block leave beginning December 7th, 2007.

Matt Farmer is no war hero. Matt Farmer is a pathological liar that has used the blood, sweat and tears of real, hardworking, tough, brave and honorable Infantry soldiers to paint himself as someone he most certainly is not. He doesn’t deserve to be placed in the same category as the centuries of American Infantrymen who fought for and in some cases died for this great land. The truth will come out and Matt Farmer will regret the day he lied to America.

John F. McManus

Specialist(Former)

Team Leader
United States Army
Infantryman

FOX23 News talked with Specialist John McManus over the phone on Friday evening.

“I was shocked and angry after I watched Farmer’s audition,” said McManus. “He was not the type of soldier you could trust. Our paths first crossed at Basic together. He has no honor. He lied. He is an adult and he made a conscious decision to lie on national television. He told a sob story when he confessed to the lies. He never would have confessed if all of us did not produce these comments. He sounds like he is telling a sob story when he confessed.”

After Friday’s story on The Guardian of Valor was picked up by national and local Green County news in Oklahoma Farmer confessed it all. He responded initially by blaming American Idol for editing his interview incorrectly. 

He wrote:

I wanted to contact you directly and let you know that American Idol took certain things I said out of context.  Three pictures that were shown were not ones provided by myself but stock photos THEY used.

I at NO time gained any monetary values about my story that was used on American Idol and want it to also be known that i am no longer apart of the show (which technically i am not suppose to divulge) BUT as I know that there are people upset I also want to let you know that certain things that were said are true.

I did drink and overdose on pills. Was Medevaced to Al Asad where I was there for several days (Not sure how many as most of it was in a drug induced blur) than sent to Laundstill Germany. There they did lots of psyhc evals where they told me i had PTSD and anxiety disorder. I was then transferred Back to my unit in Schweinfurt Germany. I was never KICKED out of iraq. I was told that I needed to go back to my unit to undergo further evaluations…”

Then a few hours later he wrote:

UPDATE 20130201 Matt sent us the following statement, in this statement he admits to the lies he told.
Everything you have read is correct. 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. Just so everyone knows I’m not reviving any sort of disability for TBI. Let it also be known that I left country 2.5 months before the rest of the unit came home, I stayed in the army PST my ETS date and was released from full service (whether active or reserve) in 2009.

I do in fact take FULL responsibility for the actions and words I have said, and know that this will never go away. In NO way was I looking to take from everyone who has served. I started to believe my own lies. And after I believed them… I would catch myself talking like it had happened to me my entire life. To the gentleman above who talked about going to the VA I am doing just that, the “cocktail” u refer to Has been my deterrent for the last couple of years as I feel like when I was medicated while at FT sill and even at Schwinefurt It was never “correct”. Never the less.

The lies end here. I want to base the life I have left on nothing but what is real and genuine and in the here and now. I am EXTREaMLY remorseful and VERY upset that I allowed myself to take from the hard work of the guys that I was deployed with among others. To think that I would go on a national tv show and get away with continuing a lie so big, and so deeply imbedded in my life and brain… Is ridiculous. Hindsight is always 20/20. The work the blue spader a did overseas was impeccable and I regret that I took from that. To EVERYONE but more importantly the men I served with, I AM DEEPLY REGRETFUL AND SORRY. my road to figuring out how to make a life built on trust starts now. It starts with getting help. And starts with this message.

I was told to keep quiet and not talk to anyone, and I have decided that what’s best for me and my family is to come out and end the insanity. I indeed have many many things to work with and need to get a lot of help doing it. Again I apologize to everyone that I have come across and hurt or lied too.

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

Matt Farmer

During the producing of this story FOX23 News got a tip that Matt Farmer had a $3,000 warrant out for his arrest. He has been busted several times in Tulsa for writing hot checks for up to $20,000. His warrant is for failing to appear in court and was issued in January 2012. 

FOX23 News confirmed this with the Oklahoma State Courts Network and the Tulsa Police Department. In 2010, in Oklahoma County, Farmer deferred his sentence for obtaining money or property under false pretense. OSCN said he violated his sentence so now an application to revoke is pending in that charge.