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


And once more, the darkies refuse to take responsibility for their own lives and actions...and seek to blame others.

583 days ago


The money (if any) on the lawsuit would be better spent launching a career that would make their dreams come true. Regardless of the reasons, whether valid or not. It is better to apply that energy to becoming the pop stars they might dream they can be.

583 days ago


Since the show has an agenda and has always been fixed for ratings, pop culture bias or social conditioning, a racism charge is all too possible. However, at the same time the show has always been anti-ethnic and musically ageist in that it is partial to R&B and country styles to the exclusion of most other types of pop music. In other talent shows elsewhere this is not often the case. So yes, I believe that AI has a serious exclusionary slant set up by the producers responsible for the contestant choice content of the show. A lady like Susan Boyle or guy like Paul Potts would wind up ridiculed or never make it past the first auditions due to looks, weight or music taste. Conclusion? American Idol is still nothing but a fixed musical reality show joke. Any show where judges make a fortune and talent just peanuts is not fair and balanced showbiz entertainment. Enough said.

583 days ago


Here we go ...... the race card . I'm shocked it took so long

583 days ago


I bet these guys are offended of the Django toys as well, but probably own the whole collection.

583 days ago

just because    


583 days ago

cory j    

Yea ruben and Anastasia yea about this lol...come on bros their not racist...u just suck. And thats the bottom line cause cor jo said so

583 days ago


Or maybe black people commit a disproportionate amount of crime.

583 days ago

cory j    

I'm sorry the cor has to correct himself...fantasia.....sorry ma!

583 days ago

just because    

like they could sell more records than THE GAME

583 days ago

just because    


583 days ago


HAHAHAHAHAHA This is so stupid! "I have warrants out for my arrest but I got fired cuz dey racist" - that black guy who can sing. I didnt notice they were black until this ridiculous lawsuit came about. Man, i bet they are the "pain and suffering" settlement check people we all are scared to see if wé are involved in an car accident with. Dumb. This is Dumb. Opportunists

583 days ago


Nicki, Randy, and Mariah need to show more compassion toward the black contestants. Keith Urban's down with the homies tho, but he really needs to stop throwing gang signs every chance he gets.

583 days ago


Guys, go get a job!!!

583 days ago


Harvey I spoke today with the FBI and they seem to want to talk to you.....

583 days ago
Previous 15 Comments | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Most Recent | Next 15 Comments

Around The Web