Caleb Kennedy Departs American Idol After Offensive Video Surfaces

Caleb Kennedy is leaving American Idol after an offensive video of him spread on social media. The 16 year old said in a statement, "I know this has hurt and disappointed a lot of people."

By Lindsay Weinberg May 12, 2021 11:04 PMTags

American Idol contestant Caleb Kennedy is exiting the ABC competition following backlash from an offensive video.

The singer, 16, announced on Wednesday, May 12, that he will leave the show after a video surfaced online that allegedly showed him next to someone in a white hood reminiscent of those worn by the Ku Klux Klan. (E! News has not verified the authenticity of the video.) 

"Hey y'all, this is gonna be a bit of a surprise, but I am no longer gonna be on American Idol," Kennedy shared in a statement on Instagram. "There was a video that surfaced on the internet and it displayed actions that were not meant to be taken in that way."

He explained, "I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that's not an excuse. I wanna say sorry to all my fans and everyone who I have let down."

Kennedy said he's taking time away from social media to "better myself." He went on, "I know this has hurt and disappointed a lot of people and made people lose respect for me. I'm so sorry! I pray that I can one day regain your trust in who I am and have your respect! Thank you for supporting me."

American Idol: Where Are They Now?

Three days ago, Kennedy entered the Top 5 of this season, along with contestants Casey Bishop, Chayce Beckham, Willie Spence and Grace Kinstler.

A source close to production tells E! News, "American Idol contestant Caleb Kennedy will no longer be moving forward in the competition. Sunday's episode will feature the Top 4 with one contestant elimination."

Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

On air, Kennedy has performed his original songs "Mama Said" and "Nowhere," along with covers of Chris Stapleton's "Midnight Train To Memphis," Willie Nelson's "On The Road Again" and Coldplay's "Violet Hill." 

He is currently a high school student in Roebuck, S.C., according to ABC's website.

E! News has reached out to the network for comment.