American Idol is being sued for racial discrimination.
According to TMZ, ten black former contestants have filed a lawsuit against the show claiming that they were kicked out of the competition because of their race. Each contestant is asking for $25 million.
The Hollywood Gossip lists the contestants as: Corey Clark (Season 2), Jaered Andrews (Season 2), Jacob John Smalley (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 lawsuit claims that the producers of American Idol portrayed the contestants as “violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants.” James H. Freeman, the lawyer representing the 10 contestants, said that some of his clients had been arrested but that none of them had been convicted. The lawyer also claimed that American Idol only asked black contestants about their criminal past.
Freeman also said that it was illegal for American Idol to ask any contests about their arrests record since it is a violation of the California employment law.
The Huffington Post has a detailed list of each contestant’s story. Corey Clark, for example, was disqualified after it was discovered that he had been arrested for battery on a police officer. Donnie Williams was kicked off the show after he was arrested for drunk driving. Akron Watson was disqualified after producers found out about a marijuana arrest. Ju’Not Joyner was never arrested but claims that he was taken off the show after he questioned the contract.
American Idol is being sued for $250 million for racial discrimination but the Fox show may have a pretty solid defense. The show has had four black winners, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Jordin Sparks and Candice Glover during its run.
Do you think American Idol discriminated against some of its black contestants? Fox has not commented on the lawsuit yet.