Ten former "American Idol" contestants have joined forces to file a racial bias lawsuit against the popular television singing competition.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the plaintiffs in the case say they received unfair treatment during the selection and competition process and were unfairly ousted -- outside the normal elimination process -- because of their race. They are all black.
In January, New York lawyer James Freeman presented a letter on behalf of the contestants to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In that document, Freeman asserted that the show's producers, FremantleMedia, have disqualified only 10 contestants publicly in "Idol's" history -- and all those removed contestants are black.
Fremman added that the arrest histories of the 10 men were illegally obtained and used to humiliate them. He says the arrest histories of white contestants weren't uncovered. And it was alleged that only black contestants were questioned about their criminal histories.
The $250 million lawsuit filed on Thursday, which is a whopping 429 pages, sues Fox Broadcasting, Fremantle and the show's executive producer, Nigel Lythgoe. It also sues numerous "Idol" sponsors, including Ford Motors and Coca-Cola, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Freeman said the actions of the show were "cruel and inhumane" and that black contestants were exploited by "Idol." Along with claims of racial discrimination, the suit also identifies other forms of discrimination the contestants allegedly faced. One such example comes in weekly song selections, with white contestants on the show said to be able to "choose whatever song they preferred" while black contestants are "pigeon-holed … into selecting songs … as 'genre-appropriate.'"
Each of the 10 plaintiffs is seeking a minimum of $25 million in damages. According to EW, a rep for "Idol" had no comment on the suit and Freeman said his office does not comment on any pending litigation.
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Treye Green is a reporter for The International Business Times and a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Green has shot, edited and...