Forget the final rose. ABC's Bachelor and Bachelorette shows have been served with a class-action lawsuit.
On Wednesday, Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson filed the suit against the dating competition series, three production companies behind the show and executive producer Mike Fleiss for racial discrimination.
The plaintiffs state that in a combined 23 seasons of the shows, not one featured Bachelor or Bachelorette has been a person of color.
In a press conference, Claybrooks and Johnson, who are both African-American, claimed they are single, not married and "looking for love." They both auditioned in August 2011 but never made it to the second round of interviews…
Claybrooks said his white counterparts in the audition room spent "45-minutes to an hour" with casting producers, but his audition was "15 to 20 minutes" and they "rushed me through it."
"I was very upset and I wanted an equal opportunity just like everybody else," he told reporters.
Johnson said his audition was even shorter, claiming he was interviewed by casting producers for "30 seconds."
"All we care about is equal opportunity," one of the plaintiff's lawyers said on the conference call. "How do you explain 0 for 23? They [ABC] can't."
The suit states that in contrast with The Bachelor, ABC programs including Dancing With the Stars and Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition have featured a number of people of color.
The plaintiffs have asked for punitive damages in the suit, but would not tell reporters what amount they are seeking. Their attorneys are calling this a "landmark lawsuit" and a "move for social justice."
Warner Horizon Televsion released a statement regarding the suit, saying, "This complaint is baseless and without merit. In fact, we have had various participants of color throughout the series' history, and the producers have been consistently—and publicly—vocal about seeking diverse candidates for both programs. As always, we continue to seek out participants of color for both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette."