About six months ago, we told you about the two black men who were filing a discrimination suit against ABC’s “The Bachelor,” citing that in the show’s 10 year history (Yes, it’s been 10 years!) there has never been one person of color vying for the affections of the opposite sex.
Well, today the U.S. District court put a stop to the lawsuit.
The court found that even if ABC’s hit show lacks diversity, it’s within their First Amendment right to cast whomever they see fit.
Judge Aleta Trauger noted that the show, in an attempt to appeal to their target audience, ABC may or not have discriminated based on race; but said the First Amendment protects their right to control their own creative content.
“Thus, the court must assume, as alleged in the Amended Complaint, that the defendants did discriminate on the basis of race, that they did so to conform the content of their Shows to cater to the viewpoint of their target audience concerning interracial relationships, that the Shows’ content thereby perpetuates racial stereotypes about interracial relationships, and that the plaintiffs seek to alter/correct the defendants’ casting decision process to address that issue.
Regardless, as discussed herein, the First Amendment protects the defendants’ ability to control the content of their own programs unilaterally … because the defendants – not the plaintiffs – are entitled to control the casting of their own programs in the manner in which they see fit.”
So the two black men, Christopher Johnson and Nathaniel Claybrooks, may still take ABC to court, but the likelihood of them winning their case is highly unlikely after this ruling.
What interests me about this whole scenario is how “Civil Rights” type issues are being reflected in the casting of reality shows? To me, it just seems like there are other, more pressing social justice issues that have nothing to do with reality television. Furthermore, even if Johnson and Claybrooks won the law suit and ABC decided to cast one of them on the next season of “The Bachelor,” would it truly be satisfying knowing that the network only picked you because they were legally obligated to?
I guess to each his own.
What do you think about the ruling? Are you surprised by it or did you see this coming all along?