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Giving Clay Aiken His Due

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NOTE: American Idol Worship would like to apologize for its previous remarks about Clay Aiken that some fans have taken exception to. While it was never our intent to disparage Clay, we realize that our attempt at humor was in poor taste and we would like to formally apologize to both the singer and his legions of fans.

Clay Aiken: UNICEF Ambassador

It has been suggested by one fan that we highlight Clay's charitable work, and it is our pleasure to give the 27-year-old his due.

Apart from his music career, Clay has dedicated himself to education and children's causes across the world. Few people can match his amazing record of giving and we feel all American Idol fans should be made aware of it, as he is helping make the world a better place.

His interest in autism issues led him, along with Diane Bubel (whose son Michael is autistic, and was tutored by Aiken), to found the Bubel/Aiken Foundation (BAF), which supports the integration of disabled children into the life environment of their non-disabled peers. The BAF, which was given a $500,000 grant from the U.S. government, runs summer camps which reflect this mission, and also presents awards to volunteer efforts of children with physical and mental disabilities.

Aiken has often donated his time and voice to benefit events and concerts, including the 2004 Rosalynn Carter Benefit, the America's Promise Benefit, and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and the "Arthur Celebrity Audiobook (Stories for Heroes Series)," which benefits the BAF and other charities.

Clay was a proud spokesman of the 2004 Toys for Tots drive, and remains an ambassador for the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC). In addition, Aiken donated his clothes from his American Idol performance on March 11, 2003 to the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.

In 2004, he was appointed UNICEF National Ambassador by the U.S., with a mission to help ensure that children everywhere are afforded a primary education. Through his work with UNICEF, Aiken participated in the NBC4 telethon, which raised over $10 million, and recorded public service announcements in support of South Asian tsunami relief.

In March 2005, UNICEF sent Aiken to tsunami-stricken Banda Aceh area to raise awareness for the need to restore education quickly to the children who survived this disaster, in order to provide stability in a time of great loss. In April 2005, on behalf of UNICEF, he appeared before the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs of the Committee on Appropriations.

In May 2005, UNICEF sent Aiken on another mission, to northern Uganda, to witness the plight of children called "night commuters," who flee the villages each night to sleep in streets and shelters in hopes of avoiding being kidnapped by the Lord's Resistance Army [LRA]. Aiken was the 2005 spokesperson for the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF drive.

Aiken continues to devote his time and energy to some of the world's most important causes and we at American Idol Worship would like to commend him for his efforts.

You da man, Clay.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Thank you so much for helping to open the eyes of those who don't already know what Clay Aiken is about, what his many fans have known all along. Clay is an amazing talent but, more importantly, he is an amazing man and I am proud to call myself a fan.

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Your apology is accepted and I appreciate the fact that you did it with such a wonderful article on Clay. He is truly a wonderful human being who has done so much for so many in such a very short time. He deserves the respect from the media. His fans have always known what a genrous and kind human being he is and I will always be a fan! His new CD is going to be awesome!

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clay is a very special person and to him everyone else is special too.thank you for recognizing what his fans always knew.

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Thanks for your wonderful article. Clay fans have long understood this wonderful man and it's nice when someone new finally "gets it".

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Clay: Thanks for giving yourself to us in "A THOUSAND DIFFERNT WAYS" through you I've become a much better human being. I love you for you and not some celebrity. You may not realize this but since I've joined the BAF I've gotten to know many upon many supportive fans of yours. I've also been to concerts of yours and been to your first CD Release Party for MOAM in the fall of 2003, in Columbus Ohio. I just can't praise you enough Clay for all the hard work and dedication you deserve. I too, have had some difficult times in my life being handicapped but honestly...I've had some pretty special memories in my life time too. Plan to have many more thanks to Clay Aiken! Health, Happiness and Hope be yours Clay! God Bless You Always ~

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Thank you so much for your apology. It is graciously accepted. It is so hard, as Clay's loving fan, to hear and read all the negative remarks that are made about him. It hurts that he is belittled for no good reason. I love him and who he is so much that it feels just like someone has ridiculed my child when they ridicule Clay Aiken. He is so many things to me, but first and formost he is respected by me. I will be his loyal fan til I die. I can't wait to get his new CD in my hands, see him on TV and magazines. My purse is ready for it all. I will probably never get to see him up close or meet him, but I want to make him rich. He deserves to be rich and loved more than any celebrity ever. I could never in a lifetime give him back what he has given me in 3 years!!!

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Maybe if more people lived by the same standards of Clay the world would be a better place. That standard is also to not speak about others unkindly. So called "jokes" can be so negative and apoligizing and saying something positive is a good start. Then maybe we can know with acertainy that things said about us don't have a real target on our backs. Clay knows this and thats why nothing will has him talking back, he's better than all that. Thanks for proving we all can!

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I'll join others in the Thanks, however did not read your original article. Your apology did not even cover half of the things Clay does for his fans and a lot of the less fortunate. He does not toot his own horn. We as fans have followed his every move for 3 years and know he is a man of his word who is all and more of what everyone in other replys have said. He wants to be a positive example and he is. There are not enough good expletives to describe him. I stand behind him 100% unconditionally.

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Clay is truly a positive role model in a time where negative role models dominate the media. Clay said he did not want to be a useless celebrity and his tireless work and generous spirit will never let him be useless. Clay deserves to be respected and admired for not only his talent but for the desire to speak for those who traditionally have not had a voice. Bravo! Clay

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Thank you for the apology and comments. Clay does not expect to be in the limelight for something we should all be doing. But he is truly the "American Idol" by setting the example. I volunteer to help with his causes as often as I can. Not only does he shine with his music but from his heart as well. It seems that a lot of media is trying to pull him down but they will find out that goodness prevails and Clay will be visibile for a long time. American Idol has found a true American Idol in Clay.