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'American Idol'

Accused of RACISM

by 9 Black Ex-Contestants

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

0124_idol_9_launch
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.

788 COMMENTS

No Avatar
76.

Twiz    

Until (and if) they find ANY non black that had thesame background/arrest history, yet remained on the show, I will continye to think this is an attempt to get money/fame for those not worthy!!!

634 days ago
77.

Juicy 415    

Haha pathetic! Just another black person looking for a handout. Get a job. Sorry as **** go cry to someone who cares sad as **** black people think the American dream is to sue or put a hand out

634 days ago
78.

thisisajoke    

I think the show is rigged regardless of your race. However, I can't believe the amount of prejudice and bigotry in the comments below. I can't wait until the old generation dies off in the next 20-30 years and my generation takes over.

634 days ago
79.

erkg    

Wasn't Corey kicked off for a criminal record he didn't disclosed and then said that he was having an affair with Paula - there goes his reliability. Then this summer he sued MTV - let's get rich/famous the old fashioned way - not work, but sue.

634 days ago
80.

ashley    

Oh please, cry me a river! These guys are nothing but a bunch of sore losers!

634 days ago
81.

Jay    

I'm so sick of black phucks. They don't get their way, they yell racist and sue, how very pathetic. They get everything handed to them, welfare money, food stamps, etc. they don;'t even have to work if they don't want to... the government takes care of them instead of sterilizing them, they have their own black magazines, own black beauty pageants, own black clubs, own black everything...if twhites did that in this day and age, it wouldn't be accepted, blacks get away with murder (literally at times) but yet all they can think about is the stupid color of skin they have, no white ever thinks about the color of their skin, blacks need to get over it, it's sickening. Move on, you're black get over it and stop using it as a crutch!

634 days ago
82.

loe    

This is so ridiculous, just as bad as some of these singers. Maybe AI is doing the world a favour , weed out the law breakers! If you want to be on AI dont break the laws.

634 days ago
83.

cheryl    

You have GOT to be f'ing kidding me. Weren't TWO past WINNERS of Idol BLACK? The show can't help it if a lot of their black contestants happen to have long rap sheets. This is disgusting.

634 days ago
84.

The Ghost of John Lennon    

There's still two Americas, one black, one white, separate and unequal.

And so, white folks are having heart attacks today because their world is coming down. White supremacy has poisoned the bloodstream of religion, education, politics, jurisprudence, economics, social ethics and morality. And there is no way that you can integrate into white supremacy and hold your dignity as human beings, because if you integrate into that, you've become subservient to that, and to become subservient to that is to make the slave master comfortable with his slave. Listen. Listen. Listen. Listen. White supremacy caused you all - not you all, some white folk, to try to rewrite history and write them out. White supremacy caused Napoleon to blow the nose off of the Sphinx because it reminded you too much of the black man's majesty. White supremacy caused you to take Jesus, a man with hair like lamb's wool and feet like burnished brass, and make Him white so that you could worship Him because you could never see yourself honoring somebody black because of the state of your mind. You see, you really need help!!! The only other person to ever play on a whole Beatles album besides us, was a Black Man! The wonderful and Very Gifted Billy Preston!

634 days ago
85.

david    

OMG....funny how black people are the most racist ones

634 days ago
86.

murkysturgeon    

SMDH,THIS IS A JOKE...WHAT A WORLD THIS HAS BECOME!

634 days ago
87.

thisisajoke    

A majority of senseless lawsuits come from WHITE people not blacks. Like the lawsuits about McDonalds making people fat or smoking giving someone cancer(you knew that big mac would make you fat and you knew the dangers of smoking). The point is a lot of people in general are looking for a get rich quick scheme regardless of their race.

634 days ago
88.

lowens1975    

The only talent they have is looking for a free payout.

634 days ago
89.

John Dude    

It's not AI's fault that black people are criminals

634 days ago
90.

shel    

Here we go with this bull****

634 days ago
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