Free speech includes the right to dump people even before they get on The Bachelor or Bachelorette. That seems to be one defense tactic being used by ABC and Warner Horizon Television as they begin to battle the class action lawsuit launched in April by two African-American guys who believe they were excluded from The Bachelor/ette because of their race.
According to court papers obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, the producers are seeking to dismiss the case for reasons that include, in part, “that television casting decisions are protected by the First Amendment."
The documents cited two examples of cases to support this argument. To quote THR’s report, they include
Hurley v. Irish American Gay..., a 1995 Supreme Court decision that determined that parade organizers weren't compelled to include the participation of viewpoints they disagreed with, and Ingels v. Westwood One Broadcasting Services, a California appellate decision that held that a radio broadcaster had the free speech right to exclude a would-be call-in participant who was deemed too old.
The plaintiffs argue that ABC and Warner violated laws that prohibit whites from refusing to contract with African-Americans because of their race. The plaintiffs’ attorneys plan to identify who the defendants’ “decision-makers” are to find out their “decision-making process” and also to “identify minority applicants for positions on the shows” which will be combined with “broader discovery efforts to establish the numerosity requirement for class certification and to develop anecdotal evidence of the discrimination suffered by other minority candidates."
So each side is going to track down witnesses to back their own claims. It should be interesting to see how this pans out. Ah, the legal system at work!