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'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


They can't find a real job after Idol so now they're suing.

603 days ago

Cali Attorney    

saying that American Idol isn't racist because they've had 3 black winners is like a KKK member claiming they aren't racist because they've had 3 black people inside of their homes..ridiculous! Just because Idol producers claimed some of these contestants lied on their background checks does not make it true and completely concrete that's what went down does it? In fact, after researching, both Corey Clark and Jermaine Jones said that they DID reveal their criminal background to Idol producers, contrary to the public statement given concerning their abrupt removal from the competition. IT IS COMPLETELY ILLEGAL, IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA TO INQUIRE ABOUT ANY ARREST THAT HAS NOT RESULTED IN A CONVICTION HARVEY. PERIOD! NO IFS ANDS OR BUTS... So even if some of these guys were less than honest about previous arrests that hadn't resulted in convictions, which is the alleged case here, if Idol producers asked an illegal question on the form than nobody had any LEGAL OBLIGATION WHATSOEVER to disclose that information to them. Where's Idols accountability for breaking the law for financial gain at the price of these young mens livelihoods? Due process of law anybody? And if everything were the way Idol says which I highly doubt given their track record, they still, under the law of our great state of California, had a legal obligation to investigate the adverse background information before taking any action whatsoever and it doesn't look like to me that they did that here, that process takes weeks, not hours. There has never been a white contestant who had their criminal background information leaked to the public or otherwise that anybody can name who was ever disqualified from Idol. According to the report, Corey Clark WAS IN FACT AN EMPLOYEE! He was getting paid weekly by a LABOR UNION. Making the threshold issue of whether or not these guys were employees or employee applicants (the law protects both) a non-issue. If you pay taxes on money you earned to the federal government, and your "boss" has complete control over how you do your job, you are considered under California law to be an employee. It's really simple. Harvey stop lettin your bias cloud your judgement old man, maybe that's why you're hosting a tabloid gossip sight instead of repping any client whatsoever in a court of law, IJS, maybe you enjoy Perez Hiltons' sloppy seconds who knows.

603 days ago


TMZ! Can you please fix the app & remove the "Report" button from right underneath the "Like" button?! Reporting all these innocent people whose comments I meant to like!

603 days ago


I'm black, and feel that if American Idol was racist Ruben studdard and fantasia would've never won. That's just common sense. Corey didn't deserve to win because him and Paula Abdul had an affair.

603 days ago


The whitest white boy won this past year with 3 black judges. If it is so bad here black people, I will gladly pay to help ship you back to your homeland where you can have ethnic cleansing and blood diamond fights.

603 days ago


I do believe that American Idol is racist!!!!What about Jennifer Hudson for starters;she should of won that year she came in as a runner up!!!And that is just one of many....

603 days ago


yeah ok, isn't Corey Clark the same idiot who accused Paula Abdul of sexual assault or something similar?? Oh, and didn't Ruben Studdard WIN one year???? and what about J Hudson??? If you apply for a job interview they ask about your history too, they want to know what kind of person you are and what kind of image you will represent the company with. Esp on tv, maybe these are the only guys with bad backgrounds, so you are going to turn this into a racial thing? Give me a break!

603 days ago


yeah ok, isn't Corey Clark the same idiot who accused Paula Abdul of sexual assault or something similar?? Oh, and didn't Ruben Studdard WIN one year????

603 days ago


What a joke!

603 days ago


Black people can't let things go.

602 days ago


If you use an EBT card, your response is null and void.

602 days ago


I agree with the lawsuit. Black people are of course always the best entertainers. Right? Nonsense. Plain and simple.

602 days ago

Dewey Shpag    

"and since his clients were essentially applying for "employment" with Idol"

They need to learn the difference between a contest and employment. The contest winner will enter a contract so it is well before the fact that these people were let go. I can't believe that they are still pulling race cards in this country.

602 days ago

Real talk    

Apparently, the impression given by some Western scholars that the African continent made little or no contributions to civilization, and that its people are naturally primitive has, unfortunately, become the basis of racial prejudice and negative perception directed against all people of African origin.

This article, therefore, is an overview of Africa's contributions to Western Civilization. As such, it will briefly trace the history of Africa beginning with the empire of ancient Egypt and continues on to other African empires that developed thereafter. It will also review some aspect of African Civilization and the impact it had on the development of Western Civilization.


The contributions made by Egyptians toward the development of what we consider modern civilization cannot be overemphasized. Between the periods of 3000 B. C and 1100 B. C, a long line of kings known as pharaohs governed Egypt. Under the pharaohs were the ruling of the royal court, governors of the provinces in which the kingdom was divided, and commanders of the army, etc. Priests and priestesses officiated at religious ceremonies and attended to the needs of their gods, but also served under the pharaohs.

The Greeks brought Egyptian education and influences to the Western world. One of the Greeks who enunciated the cultural, religious, and philosophical teachings of the Egyptians was Pythagorus. He was one of the men who introduced the teachings of the Egyptians to the Europeans. As such, the knowledge he passed on to his followers were those he attained from the Egyptians. The teachings of Pythagorus came to us from three main sources. First, from the writings of one of his followers by the name of Nicomachus. In the introduction his book, “Introduction To Arithmetic,” Pythagorus’ theory was illustrated in a form closest to the original teachings by the Pythagorean brotherhood. Second, Pythagorean ideas can be found in the works of the great thinkers like Plato who was influence by followers of Pythagorus. Finally, some understanding of Pythagorus' theory may be attained form other famous writers like Aristotle.

The Egyptians developed the concept of the right angle, which is the basis of the Pythagorean theorem. This concept is one of the fundamental teachings of the Egyptian mystery school. It is reflected in the designs of the ancient Egyptian pyramids, which were initiated centuries before the birth of Pythagorus. This concept and others like it, however, were "introduced" by Pythagorus. They represent the understanding of man and the order of nature. According to the Pythagorean brotherhood, the study of the Number Theory which is the foundation of creation -- is an aid to achieving harmony between the soul and that which one meditates. In his book, THE UNIVERSE OF NUMBERS, Ralph M. Lewis states, "The influence of the Pythagorean brotherhood extended over a long period of time. The followers of Pythagorus influenced Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle. Thinkers such as Fluid, Vaughn, and Hoyden based their philosophy, to some extend, on Pythagorean ideas, including scientists such as Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton." Chikn Anta Diop, a Senegalese historian has argued that Pythagorean theory, the concept of Pi, Geometric formulas and the screw and level are only some of the patrimonies of ancient Egypt and not of Greece as conventional wisdom holds.

In the September 23, 1991, edition of Newsweek, page 49, Bernal, the author of the 575 page book, BLACK ATHENA, published in 1987, explores the reason why in the beginning of the 18th century European scholars intentionally omitted the names of Egypt and Canaan from the family tree of Western Civilization. Bernal's conclusion was that the classicists were racists and anti-Semites. They could not stand the idea that their beloved Greece had been made "impure" by African and Semitic influences. Therefore, they dismissed as mere coincidence, how Egyptian and Canaanite technologies, philosophies and political theories shaped Algean Civilization. Additionally, Bernal is convinced that many pharaohs were black. Among them was Menthotpe who reunited Egypt around 21 B. C after 300 years of chaos.

Egyptians also initiated the concept of monotheism-the belief in one God. Akhennaten, king of Egypt and God of the sun was the pharaoh who introduced monotheism to his people. He was also a poet, artistic, an innovator, visionary, instigator of monotheism and forerunner of Christ. He ruled Egypt during the 14th century BC. The personality of Akhennaten continues to fascinate students of Egyptology. He was the husband of Nefertiti, a goddess of her time. Historians perceived Akhennaten as a good ruler who loved mankind. Some of his religious practices and ideas have influenced fraternities in the Western world.

602 days ago


What a bunch of crybabies this is one of the dumbest suits I've ever heard of.some people are just so stupid if idol was racist nobody but minorities would win there is only one fully white judge during all this tell these fools to get a real job and quit blaming people for them not being able to get work there r plenty of successful minority people in this country grow up u losers and move on u didn't have what it takes for the show so accept it and deal with it quit pulling the race card u schmucks

602 days ago
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