“American Idol” is being sued by 10 former contestants who believe they were kicked off the show because they’re black, reports TMZ. According to the contestants’ lawyer, James H. Freeman, “American Idol” used their history to make them look like “violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants.”
His clients are Corey Clark (Season 2) kicked off because he was previously arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery; Jaered Andrews (Season 2) cut for an assault charge after a bar fight; Jacob John Smalley (Season 2) eliminated early in the season; Donnie Williams (Season 3) dismissed after an arrest for speeding and drunk driving during filming; Terrell Brittenum and Derrell Brittenum (Season 5) dismissed because of identity theft charges; Thomas Daniels (Season 6) cut for prior drunk driving charges; Akron Watson (Season 6) let go for charges of possession of marijuana, which producers were previously aware of he says; Ju’Not Joyner (Season 8) dismissed because he says he questioned the contract; and Chris Golightly (Season 9) reportedly cut because of a former recording contract.
Attorney Freeman points out that not one of the 10 contestants were ever convicted of charges stemming from their arrests, and only black contestants were asked about their past, not whites.
He also argues that it’s illegal for producers to ask contestants if they’ve been arrested. Since his clients were applying for employment with “American Idol,” he says the ask about their arrest history is illegal and a violation of the California employment law.
Each contestant is asking “American Idol,” to embrace new anti-racism regulations and is suing them for discrimination for $25 million each at the minimum. Fox has yet to comment on the lawsuit.