Thursday, October 2, 2014
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'American Idol' socked with racial discrimination suit

10 former contestants bring massive lawsuit against the show

'American Idol' socked with racial discrimination suit

In this Saturday, June 22, 2013 photo released by the MBC Group, singer Mohammed Assaf, second right, receives the Arab Idol award in Beirut, Lebanon. On Saturday night, Assaf became the first Palestinian to win the Arab world’s version of American Idol, setting off wild celebrations across the Palestinian territories. After the victory, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared the singer an honorary ambassador. (AP Photo/MBC Group)
In this Saturday, June 22, 2013 photo released by the MBC Group, singer Mohammed Assaf, second right, receives the Arab Idol award in Beirut, Lebanon. On Saturday night, Assaf became the first Palestinian to win the Arab world’s version of American Idol, setting off wild celebrations across the Palestinian territories. After the victory, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared the singer an honorary ambassador. (AP Photo/MBC Group)

 

Ten one-time contestants on American Idol, all male African Americans, have sued the Fox singing contest, claiming they were unfairly kicked off the show because of their race. The men are each seeking $25 million .in damages.

 Only hardcore Idol fans may recognize the names of the plaintiffs. (Let’s face it: only hardcore fans can remember even the names of the Idol winners). Bringing the suit are Corey Clark, Jaered Andrews and Jacob John Smalley (all from Season 2), Donnie Williams (Season 3), the Brittenum twins, Terrell and Derrell (from Season 5), Thomas Daniels and Akron Watson (both of Season 6), Ju'Not Joyner (Season 8), and Chris Golightly (Season 9).

 According to TMZ, the contestants’ attorney, James H. Freeman maintains that Idol has only publicly disqualified 10 contestants in the show’s history, all of whom are African-American.

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He also alleges that the show illegally looked into the arrest histories of the Idol 10 and used that information to humiliate the contestants. The suit holds that only African American singers were questioned about having criminal records.

Freeman termed the policies of the show “cruel and inhumane,” and accused Idol producers of painting his clients as “violent criminals, liars, and sexual deviants.”

 Some of the ten men made it as far as the Hollywood rounds. Clark is the only one to have made the Final Ten, He filed a separate suit earlier this year against the show for, among other things, defamation and false light invasion of privacy. Clark, who had a brief and controversial affair with Idol judge Paula Abdul while he was on the show, maintains in the suit that he was cast as “the villain” in a “scripted” reality show.

Neither the network nor the show has publically responded to the suit.

What we’re wondering is how come Frenchie Davis (Season Two) who went on to compete on The Voice and Jermaine Jones (Season 11), the Gentle Giant from Camden County, didn’t get in on this action

 


 

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David Hiltbrand Inquirer TV Critic
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