Ten black former “American Idol” are suing the show claiming that they were intentonally forced off in an effort to boost ratings. Specifically, the former contestants claim that their arrest records were illegally dug up and scrutinized in a way that white contestants’ never were. According to their attorney, only black contestants were questioned about their arrests. And, notably, none of the ten plaintiffs’ arrests led to criminal convictions.
New York City based lawyer James Freeman who is representing that contestants - Corey Clark Jaered Andrews, Jacob John Smalley (Season 2), Donnie Williams (Season 3), Terrell Brittenum Derrell Brittenum (Season 5), Thomas Daniels Akron Watson (Season 6), Ju’Not Joyner (Season 8), and Chris Golightly (Season 9) - charges that AI producers “illegally dug up arrest histories of the contestants and used them to humiliate the singers, but never attempted to dig up similar dirt about white contestants”.
Black contestants have been important to the show’s success. Roughly 30 percent of the show’s finalists have been black, including last season’s winner, Candice Glover.