HOLLYWOOD – And then there were nine.
As in nine black men who contend that they were unfairly booted from the corny talent show “American Idol” as part of an illicit ploy to elevate lagging television ratings.
In its biased 12 year history, ‘Idol’ has disqualified nine contestants and get this… all nine, coincidentally, are African-American males. Now the show faces the earnest probability of a racial discrimination lawsuit.
According to TMZ, attorney James H. Freeman submitted a legal document to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission seeking mandatory consent to prosecute ‘Idol’ and Fox on behalf of his band of brothers (no pun intended):
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).
Once he gets the green light from the EEOC, Freeman plans to file a discrimination lawsuit. Suspicion arose early last Spring when Jermaine Jones was prematurely dismissed in March 2012.
Afterward, a skeptical Freeman conducted an investigation and discovered the rather disconcerting ratio of nine out of nine as it pertains to black men and disqualified contestants.
Freeman also accuses ‘Idol’ of orchestrating a “cruel and inhumane” scheme to mortify Negro contestants for TV ratings which is sort of ironic because I’ve been tooting that horn for about a decade.
Not sure what’s funnier: the droll perception of black folks wailing country lyrics or the overall lack of genre imposed upon a rather docile collection of contestants.
A few years ago, yours truly covered the ‘Idol’ auditions at Kansas City’s Kemper Arena. During an interview with a female contestant, she talked about how the judges were seeking a ratings grab by purposely passing through talentless buffoons at the expense of legitimate onstage stardom.
Speaking of the revolving door of judges, call it an inclination, but the show’s only constant, record producer Randy Jackson, is arguably the whitest black man on earth.
Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey, catfights aside, aren’t particularly good fits. And country singer Keith Urban probably believes 50 Cent is two quarters.
In other words, as customary, the panel doesn’t do brothas any favors. ‘Idol’ could dispel that perturbing notion if they simply hired a male rapper to join the judge’s panel.
Getting back to the topic of convo, Idol attributes the majority of its disqualifications to contestants saddled with arrests and/or criminal records. During background checks, producers routinely ask wannabe contests:
“Have you ever been arrested?”
Afterward, private investigators are hired to research their criminal history to see if they’re telling the truth.
Freeman, however, contends that imposing such a question is a clear violation of CA employment law since his clients are essentially applying for work with ‘Idol.’
Still, it’s imperative we, the people, understand that an arrest can be just as detrimental to a career as a conviction. In this case, none of the big nine have criminal records.
Perhaps predictably, a quartet of former “American Idol” finalists, two of whom are black females – have come out in full support of ‘Idol.’ All four insist the program is a lot of things, but racist isn’t one of them.
“It is shocking to see such allegations. In my experience on the show, the ‘Idol’ team strives to champion everyone, regardless of race,” said season 6 finalist Melinda Doolittle to TMZ. “However, each contestant is explicitly told that the withholding of information that may compromise the show or artist, can and will result in immediate disqualification.”
Season 4 finalist Vonzell Solomon adds, “I didn’t experience any of that [racial discrimination] … all of our contracts were clear about how the background checks worked and that we could be disqualified if we lied about our past.”
Two former white male contestants – Taylor Hicks (Season 5 winner) and Casey Abrams (Season 10 finalist) – also agree that ‘Idol’ excels at creating equal opportunities. “I don’t know why they are biting the hand that fed them,” said Casey. “Those guys beat thousands of people who wanted to be on TV. Idol is picky, but I’m not sure about racist.”
Taylor adds, “American Idol is for everyone. All walks of life go through the show. Not once did I see the show discriminate towards anyone. It’s all about the votes.”
The problem with the Idol quartet’s assertion is that none of the four are black men. This lawsuit ain’t about the sistahs. And it’s not about white men either. It’s all about the brothas baby. Hell, I’d feel much better if a few black men came out and spoke in defense of the show.
Stay tuned to the Examiner for updates on this story.
Idol, your stock is falling!
Wayne Hodges II, an MBA from St. Mary , is the Editor-in-Chief of MassAppealNews.com. He’s also a business columnist for Madame Noire, he’s a contributor to YourBlackWorld.com, and he’s a film critic with America’s ILoveBlackMovies.com. Email Wayne Deuce anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org