July 26, 2013 08:02 AM by Stephanie Gustafson
Does American Idol treat its minority contestants differently from those of Caucasian heritage? According to ten angry ex-contestants, the answer is a definite yes. These former contestants have banded together to file a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the reality competition.
American Idol staunchly denies any and all claims of racism, with executive producer Nigel Lythgoe insisting, “We treat everybody the same … no matter the race, religion or sex. I think we’ve always had a fantastic share of talent from contestants both black and white…I don’t think I’ve ever seen racism at the show.”
But ten former contestants allege that this explanation does not fit in with their experiences on the show. These contestants include Corey Clark, Jacob John Smalley and Jaered Andrews from season two; Donnie Williams from season three; Derrell and Terrell Brittenum of season five; Akron Watson and Thomas Daniels from season six; Ju’Not Joyner from season eight and Chris Golightly from season nine. All ten ex-contestants believe that they were targeted due to the color of skin, pointing out the digging up of criminal histories that they say did not occur when white contestants were involved.
If American Idol is found to be in the wrong, it could be paying up a pretty penny. As of right now, each plaintiff is seeking a minimum of $25 million in damages. This is a whole lot more than the combined value of the recording contract and prize money Idol winners enjoy. However, the ex-contestants believe that this is more than fair, given the perceived damage their careers have received due to negative publicity garnered during their time on the show.
Do you think there’s any truth to the former contestants’ racism claims? Are they justified in seeking this American Idol lawsuit? Sound off in the comments section below!
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Photo Credit: FOX