This story is developing. Caleb Kennedy announced on social media that he’s leaving American Idol.
“I am no longer going to be on American Idol”
“Hey y’all this is going to be a bit of a surprise, but I am no longer going to be on American Idol,” Caleb wrote. There was a video that surfaced on the internet and it displayed actions that were not meant to be taken in that way.” The singer added, “I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that’s not an excuse. I want to say sorry to all my fans and everyone who I have let down.” Caleb continued, “I’ll be taking a little time off social media to better myself, but saying that, I know this has hurt and disappointed a lot of people and made people lose respect for me. I’m so sorry! I pray that I can one day regain your trust in who I am and have your respect! Thank you for supporting me.”
The video that surfaced is is a Tik Tok video that is just a few seconds long. But in it, Caleb is seated next to a man wearing a white KKK hood. As I said in a previous post, the video is completely out of context. But on the other hand, a guy wearing a white hood is a context that can’t be explained away.
Due to the sensitive nature of the video, no embedding here. But for the curious, take a look HERE.
I felt due to his age, maybe Disney and Idol could let him be with an apology. But there are many good reasons for disqualifying Caleb. How comfortable would black and brown people feel working around him knowing that takes actions that support white supremacy? Feelings about this from fans have been vehemently on the side of kicking him out. Caleb is a talented kid, but it appears that he still has some growing up to do.
American Idol confirms the news in a statement
American Idol sent a statement to the press: “American Idol contestant Caleb Kennedy will no longer be moving forward in the competition. Sunday’s episode will feature the Top 4 with one contestant elimination.”
Caleb’s mother: “He doesn’t have a racist bone in his body”
According to Caleb’s mother, Anita Guy, the video was taken when he was 12 years old.
“I hate this has happened and how Caleb is being portrayed by people online,” Guy told the Herald-Journal. “This video was taken after Caleb had watched the movie The Strangers: Prey at Night and they were imitating those characters. It had nothing to do with the Ku Klux Klan, but I know that’s how it looks.”
“Caleb doesn’t have a racist bone in his body,” she said. “He loves everyone and has friends of all races.”
UPDATE: American Idol has taken ALL of Caleb’s performance videos down
Not only is Caleb off the show, but American Idol set all of his performances on Youtube to private, and he can’t be found anywhere on the official site, except for his greyed-out photo on the contestant list.
A Top 4 Remains
That leaves Grace Kinstler, Willie Spence, Chayce Beckham and Casey Bishop competing in a Top 4. The contestants will perform original songs set to be released on Friday. The singers will also tackle tunes as part of a Personal Idol theme. And the quartet will be split up into duos to perform Finneas’ songs alongside the Billie Eilish sibling and musical collaborator.
Additionally, American Idol 2021 must hold a record for singers controversially leaving the competition. Rumor had it that Anilee List joined the Top 24 after Tik Tok star, Benson Boone quit. He acknowledged his departure, but didn’t really give a reason. Then, Wyatt Pike suddenly quit American Idol at the Top 16, again with no real explanation except “personal reasons.”
Watch this space for updates.