American Idol Racism Lawsuit Grinds On, Gets More Desperate

The American Idol racism lawsuit filed by 10 Black former contestants who were disqualified from the show grinds on, and just keeps getting weirder. As the former American Idol singers desperately try to keep the lawsuit alive, their lawyer is willing to do just about anything to keep it from getting dismissed by the judge.


The plaintiffs in the American Idol racism lawsuit claim they were unfairly thrown off the show because they are Black. They have also accused the show’s producers of using arrest records for Black male contestants as an excuse to kick them off the show. The defendants, including Fox Broadcasting, Freemantle, 19 Entertainment, and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, say the lawsuit is total BS and no such racial discrimination exists.

According to the suit, the plaintiffs claim that 31 percent of Black American Idol semi-finalists were disqualified for reasons “unrelated to their singing talent.” They also claim that no white or non-Black singer has ever been disqualified from the show in a similar manner. The former contestants in the lawsuit include Jared Andrews, Corey Clark, Jacob Smalley, Donnie Williams, Terrell Brittenum, Derrell Brittenum, Thomas Daniels, Akron Watson, Ju’Not Joynery, and Chris Golightly.

The defendants in the case argue that there is no evidence “the particular disqualification of these specific individuals had anything to do with their race.” Furthermore, they have brought a motion to dismiss the case claiming the allegations were filed far too late, are barred by the First Amendment, and that some of the plaintiffs “lacked standing” to sue.

We know from following the show all these years that some of the contestants who were thrown off the show lied on their applications about not having criminal records. With these singers, the problem was allegedly not that they had criminal records in most cases, but that they violated their agreements with American Idol by lying about not having them.

Other Black contestants, like Frenchie Davis (not a plaintiff in the lawsuit), were removed for other reasons. In her case, she was disqualified over topless photos taken of her when she was 19 that were later published online. We do have to note that another White contestant, Antonella Barba of season six, also had topless photos surface on the Internet, but she was not removed from the show. However, she was eliminated before the Top 12 and she wasn’t paid for her photos, unlike Frenchie Davis.

In one of his latest  rants to the court, the lawyer for the plaintiffs got so convoluted with his own very special interpretation of statistics for the show, that we’re surprised his head didn’t spin off. Just read this bit for yourself and tell us, have you ever heard anything so verbose and yet containing so little real information?

“The null hypothesis, i.e., that Public-DQ Plaintiffs’ disqualifications fromAmerican Idol were random decisions; logically must be refuted because there is less than 1 in a billion chance that the gross disparity ratio evidenced here by the public disqualifications would have resulted from non-biased application of the American Idol contest rules. In other words, the 7- Sigma event presents a statistical significance so great that the Court may infer a prima facie case of racial discrimination as a matter of law with absolute 0% chance of error. The burden of production therefore shifts to Defendants.” [full statement here]

Ouch! That just makes our head hurt. Lawyer speak. Gotta love it. Do you think there is any merit to the American Idol racism claims? Or do you think it’s just a bunch of bitter former contestants hoping to line their pockets with some cash for the pain and suffering of being rejected?