September 23, 2013 06:00 PM by Suzy Kerr
Things are heating up in court for American Idol producers, who are being sued on grounds of racial discrimination, which took place back when Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul occupied the judges table. Once the golden child of reality television, now the show and its producers will have to fight to reclaim their wholesome image and prove that their “anyone can make it” policy is legit.
In a lawsuit 429 pages long, 10 black former contestants are alleging wrongful disqualification from the singing competition. The plaintiffs claim that American Idol targeted them based on their race, unearthing past criminal histories and using them to create drama and gain media exposure. The allegations continue, with the lawsuit saying that there has been a pattern of racial discrimination perpetrated by the show for the past 10 years. Of all the black male semi-finalists on the show, nearly a third have been disqualified — and not because of their singing talent. Additionally, the suit claims, the show has never disqualified a non-black contestant.
American Idol and its producers are fighting back, denying that race was a factor in the plaintiffs’ dismissals from the show. They say there is no evidence at all that race was ever an issue. In fact, they point out, four out of the 12 winners are black or biracial. The show also claims that the plaintiffs were never considered employees, which is a crucial bit of information under California law. By law, an employee discrimination suit is valid only for actual employees, and American Idol maintains that the plaintiffs were contestants rather than employees.
The lawsuit is still in its early stages, so it’s difficult to say who will come out on top. If phone and text votes were admissible in court, however, it may be another story…
Do you think American Idol wrongfully dismissed these contestants? Or are they still trying to grasp their 5 minutes of fame? Comment below and let us know.
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Photo Credit: American Idol on Fox