Image 01 Image 03

“American Idol” Faces Discrimination Lawsuit from Black Contestants

“American Idol” Faces Discrimination Lawsuit from Black Contestants

I was once a big fan of the show American Idol, cheering on a variety of contestants during each season.

I was especially impressed with Jennifer Hudson, an African-American beauty who went on from her appearance on the show to fame …as well as numerous awards for singing and acting. She now appears in one of my favorite new programs (Smash).

So, I was surprised to see the following news item come across my screen today, from TMZ:

Ten black former “American Idol” contestants from various seasons have filed a lawsuit against the show, claiming they were unjustly booted because of their race … and they EACH want $25 million … minimum.

We broke the story … the contestants have accused producers of conducting a “cruel and inhumane” scheme to exploit them for ratings by illegally digging up their arrest histories and using the records to humiliate them on national TV.

The contestants — Corey Clark (Season 2), Jaered Andrews (Season 2), Jacob John Smalley (Season 2), Donnie Williams (Season 3), Terrell Brittenum (Season 5), Derrell Brittenum (Season 5), Thomas Daniels (Season 6), Akron Watson (Season 6), Ju’Not Joyner (Season 8), and Chris Golightly (Season 9).

The contestants’ lawyer claims the show used the arrest info to make his clients appear to be “violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants” … when they weren’t. In fact, none had ever even been convicted of the charges stemming from their arrests.

Worse, the lawyer claims ONLY black people were ever probed about their alleged criminal pasts … never white people.

Not only do the contestants feel they got the shaft, they claim their lives have been ruined by the show’s racist portrayals.

The 10 are suing for discrimination and other alleged misdeeds.  They also want Idol to adopt new anti-racism regulations.

I suspect these contestants are going to learn the hard way that there is a vast difference in what you can claim and what you can prove. As Ruben Studdard won and subsequently went on to the “Biggest Loser” and multiple album releases, and the careers of other young black performers (e.g., Jordin Sparks, Kimberley Locke) got their start on the show, I am curious as to what actual evidence the plaintiffs plan to present.

After all, grievance is not proof.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


How DARE the producers reject people with police records? How DARE they?

Carol Herman | July 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Nah, I smell a shake down. Possibly? A ratings boost for a dying show? Not that you ever run out of talent. But you do run out of audience.

I guess the lawyers also want “discovery.” So if they haven’t found enough to dish … they can hope the producers record keeping is below par.

Tune in. Anything’s possible. And, “legal fees” will be paid by producers. While the “talent” are being given a free ride, while they stand under the money tree. Shake. Shake. Shake.

No justice, no lip-syncing!

The FACT that they didn’t WIN is PROOF of discrimination !

How can ANYBODY question that (racist) logic !!!!!!!!!!

The ONLY question is: when will holder begin the DOJ investigation into the blatant anti-civil rights actions of American Idol?

    GrumpyOne in reply to MicahStone. | July 26, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    “The ONLY question is: when will holder begin the DOJ investigation into the blatant anti-civil rights actions of American Idol?”

    First thing Monday morning…

I’m sure they all signed pre-“nupts” which allowed the producers to give them all the fame they deserved.

Barry/Holder Syndrome. Terrible affliction it is. There is no cure.

Similar in nature to Filner/Weiner Complex.

The national climate is ripe and timing is everything.

If it actually does make it all the way to trial, rest assured that it will not be heard by a judge without a jury. Now is the time for ordinary citizens to profit from ginned-up racism and grab that brass ring via civil jury trials. Before the ‘scourge of racism’ furor dies down. There may not be another golden opportunity like this for years to come.

No,grievance isn’t proof, but it sure is money. I find it fascinating that all these young people have all been arrested for one thing or another. Is getting arrested now a new goalpost for fame and fortune? Is that what it takes in the hood to finally gain respect, or do you actually need to murder someone first?

Also, how does one “illegally” dig up someone arrest record?

By the way, here is an excerpt from the rather extensive release one must sign in order to audition and compete on American Idol.

4. I understand that I may reveal, and other parties may reveal, information about me that is of a personal,
private, embarrassing or unfavorable nature, which information may be factual and/or fictional. I further
understand that my appearance, depiction and/or portrayal in the Program may be disparaging, defamatory,
embarrassing or of an otherwise unfavorable nature which may expose me to public ridicule, humiliation or
condemnation. I acknowledge and agree that Producer shall have the right to (a) include any or all such
information and appearances, depictions or portrayals in the Program as edited by Producer in its sole discretion,
and (b) broadcast and otherwise exploit the Program containing any or all such information and appearances,
depictions or portrayals in any manner whatsoever in any and all media now known or hereafter devised, or for
any other purpose, throughout the universe in perpetuity.

    WordsFailMe in reply to Uh Huh. | July 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    I think you’ve found the problem- The plaintiffs can claim that they neither understood the language not the punctuation of the provision.
    Plaintiffs can claim the the “Show” knew they they were numbskull, high school, one step ahead of a first felony, dropouts and should have, or ought to, have provided an interpreter:

    REF: US vs Every black man ever born on this planet or any other since the beginning of time @: starting at about 1:00

I’m going to file a suit against Oneida. Their forks are making me fat!!!

“…throughout the universe in perpetuity.” ?

As MoM would say, ‘Really ? Really ?’.

The lawyer who came up with this crap overshot the mark. What ever percentage he thinks they’ll settle for as ‘just below the cost of litigation’, or ‘to minimize bad publicity’, he has too many plaintiffs, even $100,000 per instance multiplies out to $ 2,500,000, and AI will not shell that out for nuisance value.

I’m pretty sure AI has been sued before, too, on similar grounds. And won.