The 10 African-American former “American Idol” contestants who are suing the show for alleged racial discrimination are already watching their lawsuit crumble as each of the plaintiffs demand a ridiculous amount of money.
Earlier this year, it surfaced that former contestants on “American Idol” felt the show was racist and discriminated against black contestants, specifically African-American males.
Allegations that they had been kicked off the show for arrest charges for which they were never convicted, seemed a compelling argument at first. After years of airing the popular talent show, it wasn’t likely that the African-Americans were the only contestants who had some type of arrest charges on file.
The former contestants’ attorney, James H. Freeman, accused the show of using his clients’ previous arrests to make them look like “violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants” and also pointed out that only black contestants had been questioned about their criminal pasts.
While it certainly seems like a powerful case, the plaintiffs are demanding an unusual amount of money that just doesn’t add up, even if the allegations are true.
Another issue with the case is that some of the contestants who are listed as plaintiffs weren’t actually discriminated against and don’t have a case that would even suggest any foul play by producers.
Jacob John Smalley from the second season was eliminated early on in the show, but he was never disqualified by the producers.
Ju’Not Joyner was kicked off the show after he allegedly questioned the “American Idol” contract which is famous within the entertainment industry for being extremely intimidating. There is not enough history of other contestants questioning the contract to prove that he was let go for his race and not simply because producers didn’t want the questionable terms of the contract to become a public display.
Then there is Chris Golightly from season 9, who was released due to complications with a previous recording contract – another case that doesn’t point to racial discrimination, just a problem with the technicalities of the music industry.
Other contestants have opened up in the past about how they had to “risk it all” and break all ties with their former music deals to appear on “American Idol.”
Joanna Pacitti, a white woman, was also disqualified after it was revealed that she had close ties with producers and an extensive career in the music industry.
To make matters worse, the very contestant who Freeman claimed was the reason he investigated the allegations of racial discrimination no longer feels he was discriminated against and wants no part of the lawsuit or portrayal as victim.
“I am offended they tried to paint me as a victim of discrimination,” Jermaine Jones, who was pulled from the show in March of 2012 for some minor legal infractions, told TMZ earlier this year. “I appreciate the experience from Idol and embraced the good and bad from it. I have moved on with my life…. And have not authorized them to include me in the accusations.”
Fox network has no comment on the lawsuit yet, but when the allegations surfaced earlier this year “Idol” producer Nigel Lythgoe said he was “shocked” by the “ridiculous” allegations.