Ten former “American Idol” contestants from various seasons, all of whom happen to be African-American, have filed a lawsuit against the FOX reality show claiming they were unjustly kicked off the show because of their race.
The contestants are accusing the producers of conducting a “cruel and inhumane” plot to exploit their lives for ratings by illegally researching their arrest records and using the histories to embarrass them on national television, TMZ reports.
The contestants involved are 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 lawyer representing the contestants in the suit claims the show used the arrest info to make his clients out to be “violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants” when, in fact, none had ever been convicted of the charges stemming from their arrests.
More still, the lawyer alleges that only African-American people were ever questioned about their criminal pasts, never the Caucasian contestants. The 10 plaintiffs claim their lives were ruined by the show’s alleged racist portrayals.
The plaintiffs are suing for discrimination and other allegations, with each of the 10 seeking $25 million, minimum, in damages. They’re also hoping that “Idol” will adopt new anti-racism regulations.