Back in January we reported on a developing lawsuit being filed against Fox and American Idol by nine former contestants, who all claim that they were unfairly kicked off of the show because of their race. According to the suit, the nine constants, who are all men of color, are accusing producers of implementing “cruel and inhumane” practices to exploit them for ratings, humiliating them on national television. The suit goes on to claim that producers illegally pulled up their prior arrest records.
Since the initial filing, the number of plaintiffs mentioned in the suit against the popular show has been bumped up from nine to ten. Contestants include:
Corey Clark (Season 2), Jaered Andrews (Season 2), Jacob John Smalley (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).
According to TMZ, each contestant is requesting $25 million in damages, which according to their attorney, James H. Freeman, is a reasonable amount, considering that Idol producers made them out to be “violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants” and that the lives of these young men have been ruined due to the show’s inaccurate portrayals of them. To make matters worse, none of the contestants were ever convicted of any of the charges stemming from the arrests pulled up by the show.
The lawsuit goes on to claim that only Black contestants were probed about their arrest history. In addition to requesting millions of dollars in damages, contestants are also asking that Idol adopt anti-racism regulations so that this doesn’t happen again.
As always, we’ll continue to keep you posted as this story develops.
Did you witness any of these live eliminations? Do you feel there were racial undertones?
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @jazminedenise.