‘It’s Picky But Not Racist’: Former American Idol Contestants Slam Racism Allegations

A few days ago it was reported that former American Idol contestants were planning to sue the show claiming that they were disqualified because they are black – but other hopefuls have come forward to say this is absolutely not the case.

Showbiz website TMZ reported last Friday that that nine former contestants, who are all black, are planning to take legal action against the show claiming they were forced off the show because they are African-American.

New York lawyer James H. Freeman is believed to have asked for permission to sue the show after he carried out an investigation and found that during background checks, producers of the show asked contestants if they had ever been arrested.

Freeman claims that the question, mixed with criminal records obtained, portrayed the black contestants in a negative way and made the group of claimants – which is believed to include season six’s Thomas Daniels – look like “violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants”.

But four other finalists have come forward to slam the allegations and said they have never experienced any racism on the show, which has had three black winners – Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino and Jordin Sparks.

Speaking to TMZ, which broke the story, season six finalist Melinda Doolittle said: “It is shocking to see such allegations. In my experience on the show, the ‘Idol’ team strives to champion everyone, regardless of race. However, each contestant is explicitly told that the withholding of information that may compromise the show or artist, can and will result in immediate disqualification.”

Season 4 finalist Vonzell Solomon added: “I didn’t experience any of that [racial discrimination] … all of our contracts were clear about how the background checks worked and that we could be disqualified if we lied about our past.”

And Season five winner Taylor Hicks and Season 10 finalist Casey Abrams agreed, with Casey saying: “I don’t know why they are biting the hand that fed them. Those guys beat thousands of people who wanted to be on TV. Idol is picky, but I’m not sure about racist.”

Taylor added: “American Idol is for everyone.  All walks of life go through the show.  Not once did I see the show discriminate towards anyone. It’s all about the votes.”

American Idol producers and Fox have yet to respond to the allegations.