The Bachelor and Bachelorette producers can deny final casting roses to whomever they’d like, based on whatever criteria they want. (And yet they keep saying yes to people like Bad News Bentley...)
Back in April, two African-American men launched a class action lawsuit against ABC and Warner Horizon Television, alleging casting discrimination based on race. But The Bachelor team was successful with its First Amendment defense and a federal just tossed the suit out.
The Hollywood Reporter posted a portion of the federal judge's decision:
As defendants persuasively argue, casting decisions are a necessary component of any entertainment show's creative content...The plaintiffs seek to drive an artificial wedge between casting decisions and the end product, which itself is indisputably protected as speech by the First Amendment, Thus, regulating the casting process necessarily regulates the end product. In this respect, casting and the resulting work of entertainment are inseparable and must both be protected to ensure that the producers' freedom of speech is not abridged.
No regulating the casting process means reality shows have every right to say no to anyone they feel is wrong for the show — including if they’re too old, too heavy, too boring, too sane or just the wrong fit for what they want. (You rarely see any 70-year-old overweight women on America’s Next Top Model. Sadly.)
The two men who initially filed this lawsuit suit — Nathaniel Claybrooks, an All-American football player, and Christopher Johnson, an aspiring NFL player — tried out for The Bachelor/ette during August 2011 auditions in Nashville and allege that they were never seriously considered due to the color of their skin.
Lawsuit or not lawsuit, the lack of diversity on The Bachelor/ette/Pad has been a running joke for years. It's hard to believe the show didn't take notice, since new Bachelor Sean Lowe's 25 bachelorettes include more women of color than any other season in the history of the franchise combined. And we know, at one point, they had their eyes on Latino hunk Roberto Martinez for Season 17, which would’ve made him the first Bachelor any other color than spray-tanned white.
Maybe someday we’ll get a more diverse lead Bachelor or Bachelorette — who knows, he or she might even help raise the dismal relationship success rate!
Source: The Hollywood Reporter