'American Idol' accused of plotting 'cruel and inhumane' scheme to humiliate African American contestants

By Gina DiFalco,

American Idol is being accused of deliberately not allowing African American contestants on the show, throughout various seasons, for racist and illegal reasons.

A group of nine contestants from Seasons 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 9 have come together to sue the show. But their attorney James H. Freeman, must get permission from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before they can sue.

TMZ obtained the letter Freeman filed on behalf of Corey Clark, Jaered Andrews, Donnie Williams, Terrell Brittenum, Derrell Brittenum, Thomas Daniels, Akron Watson, Ju'Not Joyner and Chris Golightly, during which he claims Idol sought a "cruel and inhumane" plot to humiliate the African Americans for ratings.

He claims the show tried to bring about “destructive stereotypes” about them, and made them out to be "violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants.”

Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe has responded to the letter, saying “We treat everybody the same ... no matter the race, religion or sex."

"I think we've always had a fantastic share of talent from contestants both black and white ... I don't think I've ever seen racism at the show,” he added.

Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino and Jordin Sparks, all African American, are past winners of the show.

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