American Idol Lawsuit: Black Contestants Sue Show for $250 Milllion

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American Idol suddenly has a lot more to worry about than who will join Jennifer Hudson at the judging table next season.

Ten ex-contestants, all of whom are African-American, have filed a lawsuit against the show, charging it with racism and discrimination and seeking at least $25 million… apiece.

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The contestants (names listed below) contend the series acted in a "cruel and inhumane" way by producing their arrest records and making them appear like "violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants," according to the case's lead attorney.

The main point of allegedly illegal contention?

The lawsuit claims American Idol only dug into the past of its black contestants. No white performer, it reads, was ever kicked off the show for reasons related to his or her personal history.

The 10 are seeking such a huge payday because they believe their lives have been ruined due to these racist portrayals and they want Fox to come up with new anti-racism guidelines.

In no particular order, the plaintiffs are:

  1. Corey Clark (Season 2)
  2. Jaered Andrews (Season 2)
  3. Jacob John Smalley (Season 2)
  4. Donnie Williams (Season 3)
  5. Terrell Brittenum (Season 5)
  6. Derrell Brittenum (Season 5)
  7. Thomas Daniels (Season 6)
  8. Akron Watson (Season 6)
  9. Ju'Not Joyner (Season 8)
  10. and Chris Golightly (Season 9)

You know what black people on this show? It would be awesome to call you untalented because you are black. To call you low-life because you are black. It would stir a lot of anger and publicity for our show and many more people would watch it. But it is not your skin color you pathetic whiny little bitches. It is your talent that is lacking. You are bad performers and you don't get a "I am black so I have to win"-card here. What matters is ability and not race. But maybe, maybe we need to call a black man a nigger once in a while again just because it is so funny watching him get all excited about it. Seriously white people couldn't care less about black people most of the time. Black people just don't matter.


I've had to give permission to allow for background checks and be fingerprinted to volunteer for 4-H, my Nursing license, and numerous other volunteer work applications. Does this mean I have been singled out because I am female and should sue if I don't get "my way"? Sounds like a tantrum to me!


I have occasionally watched AI and I know they don't say things like this on the air so I would not know anything about these contestants legal problems if they didn't decide to sue the show over something that would have been between them and the producers prior to this lawsuit. AI didn't ruin their lives but they are in the process of ruining their own lives by suing for some imagined wrong and bringing it to the attention of millions who would never have known about it if it weren't for their own actions. Background checks are part of being a contestant on the show and if you have something to hide don't compete.


here we go again, more black people crying to get money rather than get a real job. i hope american idol counter-sues their lazy a**es!


just trying to make a quick buck


How come they are doing it now


This claim has merit only if it can be proven that non-black contestants with similar arrest histories were permitted to remain on the show. That said, I wasn't aware that an "Arrest" was the same as a "Conviction" I believe Jennifer Lopez was arrested for possession of a firearm yet no one seemed to mind her being a judge on the show. I'm sure you could find countless examples of Idol performers who have arrest records and possibly even convictions. Does that make them bad performers or threats? AI is a show about talent. I don't care if some kid with immense talent happened to be arrested. You're not rewarding him for his history, you're rewarding him for his ability to sing and perform. Now, if any of these folks committed the offenses while participating in the show, that's another thing. I am not naive. I know that many of the artists I watch on TV or in the Movies and listen to on the radio have had their own brushes with the law. They aren't my role models, they are performers who produce a product I like. Listening to the Rolling Stones or Willie Nelson doesn't mean that I support drug use. It means I like their music. Idol is supposed to be about giving talented people a chance. So, give them a chance. So what if you have to answer to the public or to the media that some performer was arrested (not convicted) of a crime. You're still going to have millions of folks watching and you're still going to have sponsors lining up at the door.


@pammy , Jennifer didn't win, she was in the same season as Fantasia... but there were 4 blacks to will, Ruben, Fantasia, Jordan Sparks, and Candice Glover.
The folks suing need to get over themselves. Golightly should be suing his management team, not AI because it was the people that said he was still under a contract that got him booted off (And lets get real, he shouldn't get to use the race card, have you SEEN him?). The Brittenum twins were total jerks and never would have won even if they hadn't gotten themselves arrested for Identity Theft AFTER they made it past Hollywood week. Joyner was Eliminated in the Semi-Finals and was mad he didn't get picked for the Wild Card round, says it was because he asked too many questions about their contract... maybe, but that was also the year of Adam Lambert and some other great(better) talent, he never stood a chance. The bottom line, everyone of them was let go because they either lied about their background or got in trouble after moving forward in the competition (exception of Golightly, again, it was a contract dispute) The only one that should be suing is Frechie Davis, she didn't do anything illegal, yet she got the boot


I think it's the right thing to do a background check. They all know they have no chance of becoming a star, so why not, sue, don't work and have money. I hope American Idol bites there A--, and they get nothing, work for your money.


Another thing is I think the reasons they're suing is because they haven't really had a career. We all know that background checks are done on all contestants. Do you really think they could be on the show if a background check wasn't done on them?

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American Idol Quotes

Brooke White's tears come from the authentic, good soul that she is. Her heart was breaking because she was overwhelmed with the experience she had with the show and the gift that it brought.

Paula Abdul [after Brooke White was eliminated on season seven]

I read some of this online this morning and just for the record, the rumors — they’re not true. She’s part of our family and we love her.

Ryan Seacrest [on rumor of Paula Abdul being drunk on the show]