Nine black former American Idol contestants are banding together to sue the show, claiming they were forced off the show as part of a racist plot
Jeez, look at the list of A-1 class whiners on this list! I’d have to go back to my archives, but the contestants on this list who were disqualified had lied to producers. Actually, I’ll be back with some links. But in the meantime, here is the full report from TMZ.
Nine black former “American Idol” contestants — from various seasons — are banding together to SUE the show … claiming they were all FORCED off “Idol” as part of a racist (and illegal) plot to boost ratings.
TMZ has obtained a letter, submitted to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by NY attorney James H. Freeman — in which he asks for permission to sue Idol and FOX on behalf of his clients … who have all appeared on the show:
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).
In his letter, Freeman claims he noticed something fishy about “Idol” when Jermaine Jones was kicked off on March 15, 2012. Producers had claimed Jones failed to inform them about multiple outstanding warrants out for his arrest.
Freeman claims he conducted an investigation into the show — and found that producers had only publicly disqualified 9 other people from the show since it first hit the air … and they all happened to be black.
Freeman now alleges that “Idol” has been conducting a “cruel and inhumane” scheme to exploit and humiliate black contestants for ratings.
According to the letter, Freeman believes the annual “scheme” begins during the background check stage of the show — when producers ask wannabe contestants the question — “Have you ever been arrested?”
Freeman claims the question is a violation of CA employment law … and since his clients were essentially applying for “employment” with Idol, the show was FORBIDDEN from asking contestants about their arrest history.
But Freeman claims … the ill-gotten information from the question, coupled with arrest records obtained by private investigators working for Idol, were used to humiliate the black Idol contestants on national TV … and in the process, perpetuated “destructive stereotypes” about black people.
Freeman also claims the show made his clients appear to be “violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants” … when they weren’t.
What’s more … Freeman claims the show has “NEVER once publicly disqualified a white or non-black American Idol contestant in the history of the eleven season production.”
According to Freeman, NONE of the contestants who were disqualified from the show based on their criminal backgrounds were convicted of the crimes for which they were charged at the time of their disqualification.
But Freeman adds, “Yet their personal and professional lives remain permanently and severely impaired by [the show’s] continuing violations of our nation’s laws.”
Freeman’s letter is the first step towards a lawsuit — and we’re told as soon as he gets the green light from the EEOC, he plans to file the docs in court.
We spoke to “Idol” honcho Nigel Lythgoe … who tells us he was “shocked” by the “ridiculous” allegations.
He explained, “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.”
A rep for FOX declined to comment.
FYI — “Idol” has had 3 African American winners in its history — Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino and Jordin Sparks.
Well, we all know Corey Clark’s pathetic story. I guess that lawsuit against MTV went no where. Now he’s trying a different tact to extract money out of his decade-old Idol experience.
Chris Golightly was eliminated from the Top 24 in Season 9 because he was still under a recording contract when he auditioned for Idol–which is against the show’s rules.
Donnie Williams was arrested for a DUI a week before he was scheduled to perform as part of the Season 3 Top 36. George Huff, who went on to sing his way to 5th place in the finals, took his place. By the way, after Donnie cleared up his legal problems, the producers invited him to participate in Season 4’s Hollywood Week. He was eliminated before the live shows.
The Brittenum twins were disqualified after Terrell ended up in jail. Both had outstanding warrants out for their arrest at the time they were arrested. Very similar to Jermaine Jones, who was disqualified last year. Like Donnie, the twins were invited back to Hollywood in a subsequent season after clearing up their legal problems.
Akron Watson was disqualified before the Hollywood Round due to a marijuana arrest. Akron claims producers told him to tell people he was an alternate to protect himself and the show. By the way, there are ALWAYS golden tickets holders who are told “never mind” after producers conduct background checks after auditions.
Jaered Andrews was arrested for assault after he punched a guy in a bar fight. He was celebrating his selection as an American Idol semi-finalist. The man he assaulted subsequently died from his injuries. Jaered was later acquitted. For the record, he did disclose his legal troubles to producers, but they decided to disqualify him after he was charged with assault.
Thomas Danielsarrested for DUI. His record was eventually wiped clean after he complied with his sentence. He was not disqualified, but the question is—did producers leak his record to TMZ to create controversy? But does it matter? There have been plenty of white Idol contestants whose legal troubles have been splashed all over TMZ.
Ju’Not Joyner was not disqualified. He’s just a super sore loser.
Idol will be in trouble if the lawyer can dig up some white contestants who had some of the same issues, but were not disqualified. We’ll see how this situation pans out. Joanna Pacitti, a white contestant, was disqualified during season 8 for ties she had to 19 executives. SHE’S more in a position to sue than any of these losers. I have always felt she was treated unfairly.