When news began circulating of nine former Black ‘American Idol’ contestants suing for claims of racism, all I could do was sigh. These days, not only does it seem like everyone is trying to get their #fiveminutesoffame, but everyone’s also quick to do anything to get a check. The nine contestants include Corey Clark and Jaered Andrews (season two), Donnie Williams (season three), Terrell Brittenum and Derrell Brittenum (season five), Thomas Daniels and Akron Watson (season six), Ju’Not Joyner (season eight), and Chris Golightly (season nine). Out of the nine semi-finalists, only one (Corey Clark) made it to the live shows. While the contestants had small levels of singing ability, they definitely weren’t the best of their respective seasons. They all shared one vital thing – lying about their arrest records. ‘American Idol’, like traditional employers, doesn’t discriminate against people with criminal history – the key is not lying about it. The contestants in the lawsuit all lied about their previous history, but decided to use the #racecard to sue the reality show.
According to the suit, the show was accused of using criminal records to “humiliate the black contestants on national television, and in the process, perpetuated ‘destructive stereotypes’ about black people” (source). The ‘Idol’ contestants who lied about their past felt as if their exits from the show were overly criminalized for the sake of ratings and singled out because of their race. Here, I would side with the #lawsuitors only if they practiced common ethics (i.e.: honesty). But because they chose to not inform a potential “employer” of their backgrounds, their lawsuits are simply null-and-void. Season ten finalist Jacob Lusk, who was honest about his pre-Idol arrest records, also denounced the racist claims which only shows how invalid the original lawsuit truly is. Maybe it’s bouts of jealousy with contestants who believe in integrity, or maybe it could be that Lusk was way more talented than all nine of the #lawsuitors combined. I’m not sold on the lawsuit’s validity and look forward to seeing it dismissed in federal courts over the next few months.