New York attorney James H. Freeman has submitted a letter to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in which he asks for permission to sue “American Idol” and FOX on behalf of nine contestants, claiming a racist plot to boost ratings, reports TMZ.
The nine contestants are 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).
Freeman claims he became suspicious of “Idol” when Jermaine Jones was kicked off the show in 2012, during Season 11. Producers claimed it was because Jones failed to inform them about outstanding warrants for his arrest. Freeman alleges that “Idol” has been conducting a “cruel and inhumane” scheme to exploit black contestants for ratings.
The show’s background check includes the question “Have you ever been arrested,” which Freeman claims violates California employment law, since the contestants are essentially applying for “employment” with “American Idol.”
The information obtained via that question, along with arrest records that “Idol” obtains via private investigators, are then used to humiliate the black contestants on TV and perpetuate negative stereotypes of black people, alleges Freeman.
Freeman also claims the show has never once publicly disqualified a white or non-black contestant.
Freeman’s letter is the first step towards a lawsuit towards the show
“Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe had a comment for TMZ:
“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
As for the nine contestants named, Chris Golightly was disqualified over an old contract that he failed to disclose to FOX, not an arrest record. And Ju’Not Joyner was not publicly removed from the show — he failed to advance out of the semi-finals, later claiming the show is rigged and that they failed to advance him because he balked at the “Idol” contract. But it was not a public incident over arrest records.
And as for the claim that no white or non-black contestants have been publicly disqualified — both Delano Cagnolatti (for lying about his age) and Joanna Pacitti (for alleged connections to 19 Entertainment executives) were disqualified and replaced in the semi-finals. Both of them are non-black contestants.
What do you think, “Idol” fans?