Nine black former "American Idol" contestants -- from various seasons -- are banding together to sue the show, claiming they were all forced out of "Idol" as part of a racist (and illegal) plot to boost ratings.
In a letter, submitted to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a New York attorney James H. Freeman asks for permission to sue Idol and FOX television channel on behalf of his clients, who have all appeared on the show.
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).
In his letter, Freeman claims he noticed something fishy about "Idol" when Jermaine Jones was kicked off on March 15, 2012. Producers had claimed Jones failed to inform them about multiple outstanding warrants out for his arrest.
Freeman claims he conducted an investigation into the show -- and found that producers had only publicly disqualified 9 other people from the show since it first hit the air, and they all happened to be black.
Freeman now alleges that "Idol" has been conducting a "cruel and inhumane" scheme to exploit and humiliate black contestants for ratings.
According to the letter, Freeman believes the annual "scheme" begins during the background check stage of the show -- when producers ask wannabe contestants the question -- "Have you ever been arrested?"
Freeman claims the question is a violation of CA employment law, and since his clients were essentially applying for "employment" with Idol, the show was forbidden from asking contestants about their arrest history.
But, Freeman claims, the ill-gotten information from the question, coupled with arrest records obtained by private investigators working for Idol, were used to humiliate the black Idol contestants on national TV and in the process, perpetuated "destructive stereotypes" about black people.
Freeman also claims the show made his clients appear to be "violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants" when they weren't.
What's more, Freeman claims the show has "NEVER once publicly disqualified a white or non-black American Idol contestant in the history of the eleven season production."