10 former Idol hopefuls have sued the show for booting them from the competition, allegedly because of their race, TMZ reported.
The ex-contestants’ lawyer James Freeman submitted a letter in January to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission asking for permission to sue Idol for allegedly being racist.
Freeman says the show probed these 10 black contestants’ histories for arrest records and then allegedly used the information to disqualify them. Even worse, Freeman purports the show never looked into white contestants’ pasts.
Freeman also says none of the contestants’ arrests ever ended with charges.
Corey Clark from Season 2 was disqualified due to misdemeanour battery charges, the Huffington Post points out. Other African-American contestants were reportedly let go for drunk driving and posing nude. NBC News also reported that the show declared one white contestant, Joanna Pacitti, ineligible because of her ties to Fremantle Media, one of Idol’s producers.
Freeman claims that since the contestants were ostensibly seeking employment with the show, producers violated California employment law by asking about their arrest records. Also, he says that the show used this information to humiliate the black contestants on national TV and perpetuate “destructive stereotypes,” TMZ reported in an earlier article.
Idol honcho Nigel Lythgoe told TMZ he was “shocked” by the “ridiculous” allegations and that Fox treats everyone the same regardless of race, gender, or religion.
Each plaintiff seeks $25 million, minimum, in damages.
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