Gareth Cliff. (Gallo Images)
"He will now always be remembered as the Idols judge that was fired for a race issue. That sticks with you," explains the insider.
According to the source, Gareth’s schedule and salary for the new season of Idols, due to start at the end of the month, had already been confirmed when M-Net announced that he would no longer be part of the show.
Team Cliff maintains that during his decade on the show as a judge, he had never previously signed a contract before heading into auditions.
Legal papers were handed over to M-Net on Friday and the broadcaster has until Monday, 14:00 to respond.
Cliff got axed as a judge on the South African version of the popular TV show after a Twitter frenzy over comments related to the Penny Sparrow race debacle.
Eyebrows were also raised over the fact that Cliff’s fellow judge, Somizi, did not get the boot after he was involved in a race row just a few weeks before.
"To be fired over this whole mess does seem unfair. M-Net has said as much. They said I'm not a racist,” Cliff said shortly after news first broke that he would no longer be part of the TV show.
M-Net has not officially responded to the latest reports.