Is American Idol racist? Nine former finalists — including Corey Clark — are saying yes, and plan to sue the show.
As per reports, nine African-American singers are accusing producers of eliminating them because they were black. TMZ got its hands on a letter from New York attorney James H. Freeman, who submitted it to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, requesting permission to sue the reality series and Fox on behalf of his clients.
Freeman’s clients are Season 2 performers Corey Clark and Jaered Andrews, Season 3?s Donnie Williams, Season 5?s Terrell Brittenum and Derrell Brittenum, Season 6 contestants Thomas Daniels and Akron Watson, Season 8 singer Ju’Not Joyner and Season 9?s Chris Golightly.
According to TMZ, Freeman grew suspicious when Jermaine Jones was disqualified from Idol‘s Top 12 in 2012; producers explained that multiple arrest warrants were the reason behind his being jettisoned. When Freeman tallied up the number of the finalists who had been publicly ousted from the competition, he got a list of nine, who were all African-American.
The lawyer alleges Idol seeks to publicly humiliate black contestants in a bid to gain ratings, and producers asking auditioners if they have ever been arrested is unlawful in California.
Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe called the allegations “ridiculous.”
“We treat everybody the same … no matter the race, religion or sex,” he explained to TMZ. “I think we’ve always had a fantastic share of talent from contestants both black and white … I don’t think I’ve ever seen racism at the show.”
With its fair share of black, white, male and female winners on American Idol during the last 16 seasons, it’s difficult to imagine the lawsuit going through.
American Idol airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CTV/Fox and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on CTV Two/Fox.
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