American Idol is being accused of racism.
Just as Season 12 gets underway, nine former contestants have joined forces to sue the singing competition juggernaut for ousting them in what they claim was a racist ratings-boosting plot, according to TMZ.
New York attorney James H. Freeman has submitted a letter to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requesting permission to sue Idol and FOX on behalf of his clients: Corey Clark (Season 2), Jaered Andrews (Season 2), Donnie Williams (Season 3), Terrell and Derrell Brittenum (Season 5), Thomas Daniels (Season 6), Akron Watson (Season 6), Ju’Not Joyner (Season 8) and Chris Golightly (Season 9).Before Jermaine Jones was kicked off season 11 — after producers discovered his multiple outstanding arrest warrants — the show has only publicly disqualified nine other Idol hopefuls in the past, each of whom happen to be black, according to Freeman.
“[The show has] never once publicly disqualified a white or non-black American Idol contestant in the history of the eleven season production,” reads his letter. Furthermore, “None of the contestants who were disqualified from the show based on their criminal backgrounds were convicted of the crimes for which they were charged at the time of their disqualification.”
Therefore, Freeman’s clients claim the show set out to humiliate them with a scheme — first the contestants are asked if they’ve ever been arrest, a violation of California employment law, then they put through to auditions only to be disqualified them due to their records. Though FOX has yet to comment, Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe is already shooting down the accusations as “ridiculous,” according to TMZ.“We treat everybody the same…no matter the race, religion or sex,” Lythgoe told the website. “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.”
In light the possible lawsuit, it’s worth nothing that Idol has crowned three black winners in its history: season 2′s Ruben Studdard, season 3′s Fantasia Barrino and season 6′s Jordin Sparks.
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