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Ten black former contestants from six different seasons of FOX’s American Idol are suing the show for racial discrimination.
According to ABC, the ten people who are filing the lawsuit were all disqualified from the show, but not for their singing voices. The plaintiffs claim that they were disqualified from the show after producers looked at their arrest history and found criminal activity. Perez Hilton reports that lawyers will argue that the contestants were viewed as criminals with a history of violence, lying or illegal sexual activity, even if those contestants were never convicted of their charges.
The lawsuit claims that 31 percent of all black male semi-finalists were not disqualified merely because of their voices. The lawsuit even goes as far as pointing out that throughout Idol history, no non-black contestants have ever been disqualified for reasons other than talent.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently approved the 429-page lawsuit, which allows the plaintiffs to pursue the lawsuit in court.
In order to win the lawsuit, the contestants must prove that they were employees of the show, a stipulation that Idol producers deny. If they are proven to have been employees, it is against California law to inquire about previous arrests in the application process, so the plaintiffs will have a case.
FOX denies all claims of discrimination and pointed out that four winners on the show have been black or biracial.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons