Our TV Shows

Got a Tip?

Call TMZ at (888) 847-9869 or Click Here

'American Idol'

Accused of RACISM

by 9 Black Ex-Contestants

1/25/2013 7:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Nine black former "American Idol" contestants -- from various seasons -- are banding together to SUE the show ... claiming they were all FORCED off "Idol" as part of a racist (and illegal) plot to boost ratings. 

TMZ has obtained a letter, submitted to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by NY attorney James H. Freeman -- in which he asks for permission to sue Idol and FOX on behalf of his clients ... who have all appeared on the show: FYI, Freeman is required to file with the EEOC before filing suit.

Corey Clark (Season 2), Jaered Andrews (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).

In his letter, Freeman claims he noticed something fishy about "Idol" when Jermaine Jones was kicked off on March 15, 2012. Producers had claimed Jones failed to inform them about multiple outstanding warrants out for his arrest. 

Freeman claims he conducted an investigation into the show -- and found that producers had only publicly disqualified 9 other people from the show since it first hit the air ... and they all happened to be black.

Freeman now alleges that "Idol" has been conducting a "cruel and inhumane" scheme to exploit and humiliate black contestants for ratings.

According to the letter, Freeman believes the annual "scheme" begins during the background check stage of the show -- when producers ask wannabe contestants the question -- "Have you ever been arrested?"

Freeman claims the question is a violation of CA employment law ... and since his clients were essentially applying for "employment" with Idol, the show was FORBIDDEN from asking contestants about their arrest history.

But Freeman claims ... the ill-gotten information from the question, coupled with arrest records obtained by private investigators working for Idol, were used to humiliate the black Idol contestants on national TV ... and in the process, perpetuated "destructive stereotypes" about black people.

Freeman also claims the show made his clients appear to be "violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants" ... when they weren't.

What's more ... Freeman claims the show has "NEVER once publicly disqualified a white or non-black American Idol contestant in the history of the eleven season production."

According to Freeman, NONE of the contestants who were disqualified from the show based on their criminal backgrounds were convicted of the crimes for which they were charged at the time of their disqualification.

But Freeman adds, "Yet their personal and professional lives remain permanently and severely impaired by [the show's] continuing violations of our nation's laws."

Freeman's letter is the first step towards a lawsuit -- and we're told as soon as he gets the green light from the EEOC, he plans to file the docs in court.

We spoke to "Idol" honcho Nigel Lythgoe ... who tells us he was "shocked" by the "ridiculous" allegations.

He explained, "We treat everybody the same ... no matter the race, religion or sex."

"I think we've always had a fantastic share of talent from contestants both black and white ... I don't think I've ever seen racism at the show."

A rep for FOX declined to comment.

FYI -- "Idol" has had 3 African-American winners in its history -- Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino and Jordin Sparks.


No Avatar


Why have the comments enable , to get racist ppl to comment

634 days ago

really! really?    

And now we know the REAL reason AI hired 3 black judges for this season's panel. The AI honchos knew about the race suit and were trying to cover all bases. It's starting to make sense but I don't believe racism existed on AI in the first place. AI simply went over the top to discredit the disgruntled contestants.

634 days ago


This is why the world is still divided may god have mercy on ur souls

634 days ago


Why is everything still black

634 days ago


Since this is a race bait item....white people are the weakest people,the white man has always been intimidated by the black man because they know they are inferior to the black man sexually and physically...afraid that the white woman would gravitate towards black men....(some have already) so the white man created race seperation to keep the black man from thier wives and daughters knowing that if they didnt ,it would be less and less pure whites left...bottom line is white man know the black man is thicker and bigger in penis department,and would surely lose thier the try to do evrything in thier power to hold us down, educationaly and on the job front....and they cry about black people and crime,well white people, you guys created this by not giving blacks jobs by discriminatiing...when i was 18,(my name sounds white)i was callled in for a job interview,when i got there, the owner of the place said they had to take a vote to see if they want me...i was young then and didnt know i could file a discrimination lawsuit...but that bein said thats why black people sell drugs,and rob...caus the black man is limited in what they can do..immigrant can come to amerikkka and get a loan to open up a business...they deny blacks.....

634 days ago



634 days ago

The Universe    

Idol use to make fun of Gays until they met with Simon during off season and told him to knock it off.

634 days ago


It's not the color if your skin. It's about your voice. Stop your whining

634 days ago


You guys have better chance at welfare!!

634 days ago


We all know American Idol was full of crap now they've added Mariah and Nicki for ratings but it still sucks. I'm so glad Simon left before it went downhill.

634 days ago


And white people talk about blacks kill each other...well white people do as well...difference is when a black kill a another black, its usually because of a personal....white people are the weakest minded race...when the wife wants a divorce,white msn shoots up the wife and kids then his self,when you feel like a outcast you shoot up the high school,college campus,movie theaters and white people got the nerve to have something against guys created your own fear by dicriminating. If black people truly had equal opportunities ....i think 50 years from now it wont be as racist as it is now...caus all the old racist will be dead and i dont believe the young whites are as ignorant ad the old white who learned to hate from thir parents and grandparents

634 days ago


Probably because middle and southern America doesnt want a normal acting black person to win

634 days ago


i,m agree whit this story..white,s people in a lots off crap show like this... think they better than black people with music ,,don,t make me laffff..remember the historie off black people,,,where slave master beat them to dead when they play ,gospel,jazz,boogie woogie,ragtime,they call that fenomanan off music devils music,,that music is the music today what every human bean on this planet are listened right now,white people are jealouse and make themself stupid you can,t ignore the fact, black people born with rythem ,soul,groove,music understanding sinds any other humandkind on this planet. and remenber this music gona dy til the last black on this eart ....we need to boycott this crap show,,all blacks

634 days ago


American Idol is not only guilty of obvious illegal employment application based racism, it can also be accused of pop culture bias and musical discrimination. In all these years of the show all we see are contestants who sing R&B or country western. As if in the history of American music there were only two ways to sing. This also reeks of bias because shows across the pond allow the contestants to sing how and what they like without fear of fixed prejudgement. This is what happens when we outsource our pop culture to Euros with an agenda who don't respect all US music and/or a rainbow of multimedia humanity.

634 days ago


what EVER are these types of people going to do when they no longer have a race card to pull?

634 days ago
Previous 15 Comments | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | Most Recent | Next 15 Comments

Around The Web