American Idol’s troubles with accusations of racism are far from over. Earlier this week, a letter was obtained by the tabloid TMZ, in which New York attorney James Freeman is asking permission from the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) to sue Idol, as well as Fox on behalf of nine of his clients, all of whom have been disqualified from the show.
The plaintiffs, who are all black, have been disqualified publicly, on the grounds that they didn't notify Idol about their previous convictions and the letter claims that this hasn’t happened to any white or non-black contestants. This of course, constitutes discrimination. Additionally, Freeman is claiming that part of the background checks Idol performs on the contestants are unconstitutional – particularly asking about their criminal history. The nine plaintiffs are Corey Clark and Jaered Andrews (season 2), Donnie Williams (season 3), Terrell Brittenum and Derrell Brittenum (season 5), Thomas Daniels and Akron Watson (season 6), Ju'Not Joyner (season 8) and Chris Golightly (season 9), all of whom have been ousted from the show and are now claiming damages to their reputations and personal lives.
Idol reps have vehemently denied any instances of racism on the show and four former contestants have come forward to defend the show as well. Season six finalist Melinda Doolittle adamantly said: “It is shocking to see such allegations. In my experience on the show, the 'Idol' team strives to champion everyone, regardless of race. However, each contestant is explicitly told that the withholding of information that may compromise the show or artist, can and will result in immediate disqualification.”
Regardless of what anyone from the side of the show claims, however, if this case goes ahead the show, as well as the network, could be facing some tough legal battles.