Some former contestants are attempting to sue "American Idol," claiming they were forced off the show "as part of a racist (and illegal) plot to boost ratings," according to a report from TMZ.
Nine black male singers are behind the effort, it notes. Those singers are Corey Clark, Jaered Andrews, Donnie Williams, Terrell Brittenum, Derrell Brittenum, Thomas Daniels, Akron Watson, Ju'Not Joyner and Chris Golightly.
Here's an excerpt from the TMZ report:
TMZ has obtained a letter, submitted to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by NY attorney James H. Freeman -- in which he asks for permission to sue Idol and FOX on behalf of his clients ... who have all appeared on the show: FYI, Freeman is required to file with the EEOC before filing suit.
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.
Read TMZ's full report here.
MJ's Big Blog has a good roundup of background details on the singers involved in this effort. Many of those singers had legal problems.
One major fact to note: Corey Clark is the guy who claimed he had a sexual relationship with former "Idol" judge Paula Abdul. Prior to those allegations, he was disqualified from "Idol" for not disclosing his arrest record upon entering the show.
What's your reaction to the contestants' claims?