JERMAINE JONES (AP Photo/Fox/Michael Becker, File)
(YourBlackWorld.com)–The show “American Idol” has been accused of racism by nine Black former contestants on the show. The artists all claim that they were “forced off” so that the show could boost its ratings, likely among White viewers. According to TMZ, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has received a complaint from an attorney by the name of James H. Freeman asking for permission to sue both American Idol and Fox.
The contestants that are part of the complaint are: Corey Clark (Season 2), Jaered Andrews (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).
Freeman says that one of the points of suspicion occurred when Jermaine Jones was kicked off the show, when producers claimed that he failed to inform them about outstanding warrants for his arrest. Freeman then says that it turns out that the show has only publicly disqualified nine contestants in its history and they all just happened to be African American.
Before contestants are allowed on the show, they are asked: ”Have you ever been arrested?”
Freeman says that this question is a violation of California employment law. Since he argues that contestants are effectively applying for a job, they can’t be asked such a question on their application. He says that “destructive stereotypes” against Black people are perpetuated by the way the show does business, and that the show uses private investigators to find dirt on Black contestants to get them booted off the show.
The biggest attack by Freeman is that the show has “NEVER once publicly disqualified a White or non-Black American Idol contestant in the history of the eleven season production.”
Freeman also says that none of the contestants who’d been arrested had actually been convicted of the crimes for which they were arrested.
“Yet their personal and professional lives remain permanently and severely impaired by [the show's] continuing violations of our nation’s laws,” says Freeman.
The head of American Idol, Nigel Lythgoe says that the lawsuit is just nonsense. We’re not sure if it just happens to be the case that all of the disqualified contestants were Black, but he should probably try to explain that one.
“We treat everybody the same … no matter the race, religion or sex,” he told TMZ.
“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.”