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American Idol

American Idol Lawsuit Planned by Former Contestants Over Alleged “Racist Plot”

In the “we’re not buying it” category of news, TMZ has revealed that American Idol has been accused of a devious racist plot. Nine black former contestants from a variety of seasons have joined forces with an intent to sue the show, “claiming they were all FORCED off ‘Idol’ as part of a racist (and illegal) plot to boost ratings.” According to TMZ, the list of names on the suit are as follows:

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).

The lawsuit against American Idol was initiated by New York attorney James H. Freeman, who “claims he noticed something fishy about Idol when Jermaine Jones was kicked off on March 15, 2012.”

You likely recall Jermaine, aka “The Gentle Giant,” as he was recently back in the news for announcing he was going to audition for The Voice. During American Idol Season 11, producers kicked Jermaine off the show for failing to inform them about multiple outstanding warrants for his arrest.

What’s Mr. Freeman’s angle, you might ask? He claims that, when producers ask contestants if they’ve ever been arrested, it’s in violation of California’s employment law. Since his clients are applying for “employment” with Idol, the show was “forbidden” from asking contestants about their history of arrests. Uh huh.

Furthermore, the attorney says this tactic was used to “humiliate the black Idol contestants on national TV,” perpetuating “destructive stereotypes.”

Mr. Freeman goes on to note that the show has never publicly disqualified a non-black contestant, and none of his clients who were disqualified were convicted of the crimes for which they were charged at the time of their disqualification.

Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe told TMZ he was “shocked” by what he calls the “ridiculous” allegations. As he put it, “We treat everybody the same … no matter the race, religion or sex.”

TMZ points out the obvious -- American Idol has had 3 African-American winners -- Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, and Jordin Sparks.

A few of these guys jump off the page at us as not the most trustworthy types. Anyone remember the Brittenum Twins, who refused to go away after being disqualified for identity theft charges during season five? They later reported Idol offered them another chance to advance to the season 7 Hollywood round but they turned the show down to release an album. Herein lies the problem -- it wasn’t true, and they ultimately admitted the lie.

You probably also remember season two’s Corey Clark, who didn’t disclose an arrest to producers and was thrown off the show. In December of that year, he was arrested for battery for allegedly beating up his sister, and also claimed he had a relationship with former American Idol judge Paula Abdul. He then tried to sue MTV for $40 million for defamation.

Yeah, we smell something fishy, too, but it’s not American Idol.

What do you think of the intent to sue by these former contestants?

Source: TMZ

01.26.2013 / 12:49 AM EDT by Marnie Brodersen
Related: American Idol

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