American Idol is being sued by 10 Black former contestants, claiming they were kicked off the show in their respective seasons because of their race, TMZ was the first to report.
The plaintiffs are Season 2's Corey Clark, who was disqualified after it was revealed that he was previously arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery on police officers and his sister, as well as endangering the life of a child; Season 2's Jaered Andrews, who was also dismissed following the discovery of an assault charge stemming from a fatal bar fight; Season 2's Jacob John Smalley, who was eliminated early on in his season; Season 3's Donnie Williams, who was pulled from the show after an arrest for speeding and drunk driving while "Idol" was filming; Season 5's twin brothers Terrell Brittenum and Derrell Brittenum, who were cut after executives learned of an arrest and charges of identity theft; Season 6's Thomas Daniels, who was dismissed after his drunk driving charges and other criminal records came to light; Season 6's Akron Watson, who was kicked off after producers found out about a prior mmisdemeanor for possession of marijuana, which he claimed producers were made aware of previously; Season 8's Ju'Not Joyner, who claimed he was disqualified from the show because he questioned the contract; and Season 9's Chris Golightly, who was allegedly let go over complications with a former recording contract.
The contestants' attorney, James H. Freeman, claims Idol used his clients' history to make them look like "violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants," according to Fox News. He notes that none of his 10 plaintiffs had ever even been convicted of the charges stemming from their arrests. Freeman also notes only Black contestants were probed about their pasts, never White contestants.