After American Idol season 11 contestant, Jermaine Jones, was disqualified quite publically from the show, he declined to join the racial discrimination lawsuit that was filed at around the same time by other ex-contestants. He’s changed his mind, reports ABC News.
Jermaine Jones, who was disqualified from “American Idol” during Season 11 for having outstanding arrest warrants in his home state of New Jersey, is joining a racial discrimination lawsuit filed in July 2013 by 10 black former contestants.
“I was and continue to be appreciative of the opportunity to perform as a Top 10 contestant during Season 11 of ‘American Idol,’ which was once considered the world’s biggest stage for up-and-coming recording artists. And I wanted to believe that my humiliating public disqualification in March 2012 was just part of the show and an experience that could be internalized and ultimately forgotten. But I realize now, with the support of my family and friends, that Equal Rights under the law (or in this case, under contest rules) is something we must always strive for and never take for granted,” Jones, who was booted during the Top 12 round, said in an exclusive statement to ABC News.
“I think they are going a little overboard,” Jermaine told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. dismissing the plaintiff’s allegations as “ludicrous.”
“Some of these cases are over 10 years old,” he argued. “What have you been doing since the show that you feel you deserve $25 million?”
What made Jermaine change his mind two years later? An entertainment career that was going nowhere coupled with a way to keep his name in the news with the possibility of a big payday? A source close to Jermaine tells ABC news that Jermaine has been having “having nightmares and panic attacks” about the day producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick confronted him on camera about outstanding warrants they claim he didn’t disclose, before showing him the door.
“I am therefore honored to join my fellow brethren in their continuing struggle to enforce this Nation’s Civil Rights laws against the powerful forces who discriminated against top-ranking Black American Idols for more than decade,” Jermaine told ABC.
He added that he did not sign up for the show to be “falsely portrayed as a thug or a ‘gangsta.'”
Reportedly, even as he paid lip service to supporting the show two years ago, he was still considering whether to join the lawsuit or now.
The $250 million suit argues that producers over the course of 10 years have practiced a pattern of racial discrimination that stems from using black male contestants’ arrest history against them. The suit points out that 31 percent of all “American Idol” semi-finalists who were black males were disqualified for reasons “unrelated to their singing talent.” Moreover, the lawsuit adds that, over the course of 10 years, “there has never been a single white (or non-black) contestant disqualified from ‘American Idol’ — not ever.”
FOX and the show’s producers have denied any discrimination, pointing out that 33 percent of, or four out of the past 12, winners, including last year’s Candice Glover, have been black or biracial.
The judge in the case is currently decided whether to dismiss the lawsuit or not.
A “source” close to Jermaine tells ABC News that he “began having nightmares and panic attacks about the moment in March 2012 when he was confronted on camera by former “Idol” producers Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe for not revealing his criminal history.”
Via ABC News