I know what you’re thinking…”Wait American Idol is STILL on the air?”
But I first wrote about this back in January when there were rumblings about a lawsuit in the works; and now it’s come to reality.
American Idol producers and the Fox Network have been hit with a huge multi-million dollar lawsuit by ten former black AI contestants, all of them asking for $25 million each in damages, claiming racial discrimination, and that they were intentionally and unjustly forced off the show as part of a "racist plot" to boost ratings for the show.
New York City based lawyer James Freeman who is representing the contestants - Corey Clark, Jaered Andrews, Jacob John Smalley (Season 2), Donnie Williams (Season 3), Terrell Brittenum, Derrell Brittenum (Season 5), Thomas Daniels, Akron Watson (Season 6), Ju’Not Joyner (Season 8), and Chris Golightly (Season 9) – charges that AI producers “illegally dug up arrest histories of the contestants and used them to humiliate the singers, but never attempted to dig up similar dirt about white contestants.”
According to Freeman, only black contestants were questioned about their criminal histories.
Freeman calls these actions “cruel and inhumane,” accusing Idol of exploiting black contestants, perpetuating “destructive stereotypes,” and making them appear to be “violent criminals, liars, and sexual deviants.”
However, none of the 10 men he represents have been convicted of charges stemming from their arrests.
But many are asking - are the racism charges against AI truly fair?
According to statistics, some 41 of the show's 143 finalists have been black, about 30% of finalists, and that includes last season’s winner Candice Glover.
And former black finalists have publicly stated that they never experienced any discrimination of any kind on the show.
Season 6 finalist Melinda Doolittle, has gone on record to say that “It is shocking to see such allegations. In my experience on the show, the Idol team strives to champion everyone, regardless of race."
Vonzell Solomon, third place finalist in Season 4, said that “I didn’t experience any of that racial discrimination.”
So what do you say?