American Idol clearly gives the boot to contestants for lacking the right vocal chops. But did the show ax several former hopefuls because they were black?
That's what nine erstwhile Idol hopefuls are claiming in a complaint filed against the show alleging that racism played a role in their ouster in an attempt to juice up ratings. They include Corey Clark and Jaered Andrews from season two; Donnie Williams from season three; twins Terrell and Derrell Brittenum from season five; Thomas Daniels and Akron Watson from season six; Ju'Not Joyner from season eight; and Chris Golightly from season nine.
Attorney James Freeman confirms to E! News that he has submitted a complaint to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf the former contestants.
"Among other allegations, we have taken the position that there are continuing violations of the U.S. Constitution and we are asking the commission to investigate," Freeman tells E! News. "As of now it is not a lawsuit; it is just a request to the federal government that they investigate."
The jilted contestants allege, per published reports, that the show zeroed in on black contestants with arrest records in order to publicly expose them in an effort to boost ratings.
Clark, for instance, was famously kicked off the show in 2003 after producers discovered he had been arrested for allegedly assaulting his sister. He ultimately plead no contest to obstructing legal process.
Last year, Jones was axed for supposedly lying about his alleged criminal past.
Freemantle Media, which produces American Idol, declined to comment.