After years of people speculating and criticising ABC’s “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” for not producing any leads of colour, a group of residents from Nashville are stepping up to take legal action. Aspiring NFL players Christopher Johnson and Nathaniel Claybrooks have led the charge against ABC’s two dating series saying that in the 10-year history of the two shows (which have spawned 23 seasons), not one Bachelor or Bachelorette has been black, Hispanic, or any other person of colour.
Represented by three different law firms—Barrett Johnston, Mehri & Skalet and Perkins-Law—the men will file a class-action lawsuit against ABC, “The Bachelor” executive producer Mike Fleiss and the shows’ production companies: Warner Horizon Television Inc., Next Entertainment Inc. and NZK Productions Inc.
TMZ reports that both Johnson and Claybrooks auditioned for the show and were taken to “the side of the room and left out of the normal audition process.” They believed that was due to their race.
Back in 2011 when Ashley H. was just selected as the new Bachelorette, Fleiss addressed the racial elephant in the room with Entertainment Weekly. Here was his response:
“I think Ashley is 1/16th Cherokee Indian, but I cannot confirm. But that is my suspicion! We really tried, but sometimes we feel guilty of tokenism. Oh, we have to wedge African-American chicks in there! We always want to cast for ethnic diversity, it’s just that for whatever reason, they don’t come forward. I wish they would.”
But “The Shield” creator and TV producer Shawn Ryan believed that answer to be a terrible excuse and he blasted Fleiss for “(s)traight up racism.”
“[T]hey blame minorities for ‘not coming forward’. What a joke,” Ryan tweeted. “They just don’t think America will watch black bachelor [sic] or root for mixed-race marriage.”
The plaintiffs will file their charges Wednesday morning and have scheduled a news conference on the matter.
How many “Bachelor” or “Bachelorette” contestants of colour can you name?
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