The controversy on “American Idol” isn’t solely surrounding the beef between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. The singing competition reality show is being accused of racism by nine ex-contestants from different seasons.
An attorney out New York named James H. Freeman submitted a letter to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requesting permission to sue the producers of”American Idol” on behalf of his clients 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) claiming the show forcibly removed all of his clients from the show in a racist effort to boost ratings.
In his letter, Freeman wrote that he noticed a funny pattern with the show and the black contestants when Jermaine Jones was kicked off the show back in March of 2012. Producers said Jones did not inform them that he had multiple warrants for his arrest. Freeman went on to say he conducted his own investigation into “American Idol” and discovered only nine contestants had been disqualified since its beginning in 2002 and they were all black.
Freeman says the show is humiliating and exploiting black contestants for ratings. According to the letter, the exploitation begins when the producers ask if the contestant has ever been arrested. That question is in violation of the law because the contestants are essentially applying for employment with the show.
the group of contestants and their lawyer say the information “American Idol” used to kick them off the show was also used to make them seem like “violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants” when they aren’t. Add in the fact “Idol” has never publicly disqualified a white or non-white contestant makes it worse. And to add insult to injury, none of the disqualified contestants were ever convicted of any crimes.
Freeman offered, “Yet their personal and professional lives remain permanently and severely impaired by [the show's] continuing violations of our nation’s laws.” Freeman plans to file a lawsuit as soon as the EEOC gives the go-ahead.
“American Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is said to be shocked by the allegations. Lythgoe said, “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 show.”