American Idol producers and the Fox Network have a multi-million dollar lawsuit coming their way by 10 former black AI contestants. Each of them asking for $25 million due to damages, insisting racial discrimination has taken place due to the show intentionally and unjustly forcing black contestants to leave as part of a “racist plot” to increase ratings, according to Indiewire.
James Freeman, a New York City based lawyer will be representing the contestants, Corey Clark, Jaered Andrews, Jacob John Smalley (Season 2), Donnie Williams (Season 3), Terrell Brittenum, Derrell Brittenum (Season 5), Thomas Daniels, Akron Watson (Season 6), Ju’Not Joyner (Season 8), and Chris Golightly (Season 9) – charges that AI producers “illegally dug up arrest histories of the contestants and used them to humiliate the singers, but never attempted to dig up similar dirt about white contestants,” according to Indiewire.
Of the 10 men Freeman represents, none have been convicted of the charges that AI tried to use against the contestants.
Though only black contestants were questioned about a possible criminal past, according to Freeman, former black finalists have publicly announced that discrimination does not exist on the show. 41 of the show’s 143 finalists have been black, including last season’s winner Candice Glover.
“It is shocking to see such allegations. In my experience on the show, the Idol team strives to champion everyone, regardless of race,” season 6 finalist Melinda Doolittle said and Vonzell Solomon, third place finalist in season 4 shared similar words.