Nine former African American contestants have united to file a lawsuit against American Idol, accusing the show of racism.
According to TMZ, Corey Clark (Season 2), Jaered Andrews (Season 2), Donnie Williams (Season 3), Terrell Brittenum (Season 5), Derrell Brittenum (Season 5), Thomas Daniels (Season 6), Akron Watson (Season 6), Ju'Not Joyner (Season 8) and Chris Golightly (Season 9), have hired New York attorney James H. Freeman to sue the show on their behalf.
Freeman has taken the first step in the process by submitting a letter to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, asking to sue the show. Freeman is required to file with the EEOC before moving forward with the lawsuit.
Freeman began to look into American Idol's dismissal of black contestants when Jermaine Jones was kicked off on March 15, 2012. Fox executives said Jones was kicked off the show for failing to inform them about several outstanding warrants out for his arrest.
Freeman says that during his investigation of the show he found out that all nine of the contestants that were kicked off the show over the the years were African American. He further claims that the show has "NEVER once publicly disqualified a white or non-black American Idol contestant in the history of the eleven season production."
Freeman accuses Idol of conducting a "cruel and inhumane" scheme to exploit and humiliate black contestants for ratings by making them appear to be "violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants"
None of the disqualified contestants were ever convicted of the crimes for which they were charged at the time of their elimination.
"Yet their personal and professional lives remain permanently and severely impaired by [the show's] continuing violations of our nation's laws," says Freeman.
Freeman claims that when Idol asks would be contestants the question: "Have you ever been arrested?" during the background check stage they violate CA employment law. The question is forbidden since his clients were applying for employment.
Freeman says Idol used the background information and arrest records to humiliate contestants and perpetuate "destructive stereotypes" about black people.
As soon as Freeman gets the green light from the EEOC, he will move forward with the lawsuit.
Ruben Studdard and Jordin Sparks
Three African American contestants have previously won the show including Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino and Jordin Sparks.
Fox executives declined to comment on the story.