For Marque Lynche Sr. and his wife, Sharon Scott-Lynche, the final straw fell when he got insulted Wednesday by the hosts on ABC's talk show The View.
Their comments capped weeks of harsh news stories centered on rumors that his son Michael Lynche may have been ejected from the popular TV singing competition American Idol for his father's actions.
Speculation about the possibility emerged after Marque Lynche was quoted by the St. Petersburg Times confirming buzz that his son had survived the show's Hollywood Week auditions to land in the competition's top 24 semifinalists, weeks before the program would show the auditions.
Fans and some press outlets wondered if that disclosure meant the show's confidentiality rules had been violated.
But Marque Lynche says he had no inside information from his son; he had seen Michael Lynche's name on a list of semifinalists published by two popular American Idol-centered Web sites.
"I haven't even talked to Michael in almost five years … Michael never violated a confidentially clause," said Marque Lynche, who added he hasn't talked to his son, anyone from the Fox network or from American Idol since the rumors started. "I'm afraid to even put Michael's name (into an Internet search) because I might see a bunch of derogatory comments. Michael is an honest young man."
The media rush began when one outlet, Joe's Place Blog, published a report saying Michael Lynche might have been disqualified for violating confidentiality concerns, citing a "rumor floating around American Idol message boards."
That item inspired a more definitive story in the New York Post echoed by People magazine, Zap2It.com, Us magazine, MSNBC, the Tampa Tribune and other news outlets.
But the Fox network has consistently declined to comment on rumors about the show, saying the 24 semifinalists will be revealed Feb. 17. Marque Lynche also declined to comment publicly as the controversy spread, turning off his telephone line for more than a week to avoid calls from reporters.
Still, when the hosts on The View joked that Michael Lynche might not want to name his first child after his father, Marque Lynche wanted to set the record straight.
Sharon Scott-Lynche said the outpouring of e-mail and Facebook messages made her feel "kind of weird and vulnerable. It feels like a big intrusion. … He's being lambasted for a miscommunication."
Most of all, Marque Lynche does not want to hurt his son, a St. Petersburg native whose mother, Michele Lynche, was once a community columnist for the St. Petersburg Times before her death in 2004.
"I love (View co-host) Barbara Walters … and she's making jokes about my husband," added Sharon Scott-Lynche, who said she and Marque Lynche don't plan to speak to journalists again about the subject. "They can call if they want to, but it's 'no comment' from here on out."
Eric Deggans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8521. Follow him online at the Feed, blogs.tampabay.com/media.