American Idol might be facing a lot more drama than Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey’s bickering.
TMZ is reporting that nine former Idol contestants, who all happen to be black, are banding together to sue AI, claiming they were all forced off the talent reality show as a part of a racist plot to boost ratings.
In a letter to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by NY attorney James H. Freeman, he asks permission to sue Idol and FOX on behalf of all nine clients:
Corey Clark (Season 2), Jaered Andrews (Season 2), Donnie Williams (Season 3), Terrell Brittenum (Season 5), Derrell Brittenum (Season 5), Thomas Daniels (Season 6), Akron Watson (Season 6), Ju’Not Joyner (Season 8) and Chris Golightly (Season 9).
The letter says that Freeman noticed something fishy about the show when Jermaine Jones was kicked off on March 15, 2012. Producers claimed that Jones failed to inform them about multiple warrants for his arrest.
According to TMZ:
Freeman now alleges that “Idol” has been conducting a “cruel and inhumane” scheme to exploit and humiliate black contestants for ratings.
According to the letter, Freeman believes the annual “scheme” begins during the background check stage of the show — when producers ask wannabe contestants the question — “Have you ever been arrested?”
Freeman claims the question is a violation of CA employment law … and since his clients were essentially applying for “employment” with Idol, the show was FORBIDDEN from asking contestants about their arrest history.
But Freeman claims … the ill-gotten information from the question, coupled with arrest records obtained by private investigators working for Idol, were used to humiliate the black Idol contestants on national TV … and in the process, perpetuated “destructive stereotypes” about black people.
The attorney also noticed that not one white or non-black contestant has been disqualified from the competition since the series started.
TMZ spoke with Idol executive Nigel Lythgoe who said he was “shocked” by the allegations.
He explained, “We treat everybody the same … no matter the race, religion or sex. 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.”
FOX refused to comment. Hmmm, even though there have been three black Idol winners, do you think the show is guilty of racism based off of Freeman’s findings?