- (Photo: AP / Kevork Djansezian)
The "American Idol" singing competition is being sued by nine black former contestants who appeared on the show and claim that it is racist.
James H. Freeman, a New York-based attorney who is working on behalf of the nine former contestants from different seasons, has submitted a letter to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), according to TMZ reports. Freeman requested permission to sue FOX Network's "American Idol" after claiming that the only contestants to be kicked off the show were black people who were humiliated and used to perpetuate racial stereotypes.
Freeman is representing Corey Clark and Jaered Andrews from season 2, Donnie Williams from season 3, Terrell Brittenum and Derrell Brittenum from season 5, Thomas Daniels and Akron Watson from season 6, Ju'Not Joyner from season 8 and Chris Golightly from season 9. Although TMZ reports that Freeman must obtain permission from the EEOC before going forth with the lawsuit. Freeman has reportedly conducted an investigation which led him to question "American Idol" allegedly violating employment laws that forbid the show from asking contestants about their arrest history.
While Freeman's clients and former "American Idol" contestants have had arrest records and reportedly were disqualified because of their criminal backgrounds, TMZ reported that none of the nine people trying to sue the show have been convicted of the crimes that led to them being booted from the competition.
According to Freeman's statement to TMZ, racism seems evident in the show because producers "NEVER once publicly disqualified a white or non-black 'American Idol' contestant in the history of the eleven season production."
The lawyer went on to tell the publication that the talent competition was violating both the rights of the former contestants that appeared on "American Idol" and national laws.
"Their personal and professional lives remain permanently and severely impaired by [the show's] continuing violations of our nation's laws," Freeman said.
While "American Idol" has had three African-American winners in the show's history that include Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino and Jordin Sparks, producer Nigel Lythgoe said he was shocked to hear about the allegations.
"We treat everybody the same ... no matter the race, religion or sex," Lythgoe 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."
Various people took to Twitter to react to the potential lawsuit against the well-known talent competition based on the claims of racism. One person thought that it would be hard to prove that the show was racist in a country that they thought was full of racism.
"(They're) suing 'American Idol' for being racist. Bruh. AMERICA is racist," the person tweeted. "You can't sue the whole continent dude."
However, another individual thought the claims were absurd after realizing that the majority of the four judges on the show are black.
"'American Idol' is being sued for being racist against blacks, despite the three black judges sitting on their panel right now," the person tweeted.