The EEOC is deciding if "American Idol" alleged racism charges from nine black former contestants are allowed to proceed to court. At issue is whether Fox and the show discriminated against and exploited African American contestants for ratings. The potential "Idol" lawsuit alleges that never in the history of the show have whites or non-blacks been "disqualified."
TMZ said in a Jan. 25 report on this developing story that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is reviewing a complaint from James H. Freeman, the men's attorney.
Listed in the letter as plaintiffs are Jaered Andrews (Season 2), Chris Golightly (Season 9), Corey Clark (Season 2), Donnie Williams (Season 3), Terrell Brittenum (Season 5), Derrell Brittenum (Season 5), Thomas Daniels (Season 6), Akron Watson (Season 6) and Ju'Not Joyner (Season 8).
It all began when "Idol" booted Jermaine Jones from the show on March 15, 2012. Show producers said they made the decision due to the contestant's failure to inform them about several arrest warrants outstanding.
Freeman said he noticed something "fishy" about the who matter. This made him delve a little deeper and what he found was an alleged pattern alarming enough to suggest "American Idol" allegedly practiced racism, primary among African Americans.
After further investigation, the attorney noticed that of the nine people disqualified from the show, all were black male contestants. He refers the practice as a "cruel and inhumane" way to boost ratings by exploiting the dispositions of blacks for shock value.
Freeman further states that producers violate California employment law when they ask contestants, "Have you ever been arrested?"
He says that, while his clients were arrested and/or arrested, none of them have ever been convicted of a crime.
However, the information from the alleged "illegal" question, along with information obtained from private investigators, only served to publicly humiliate blacks on the show, according to Freeman.
He contends that due to alleged racism by "American Idol," his client's reputations and professional lives are tarnished.
According to federal law, before a lawsuit can proceed to court, the EEOC must investigate the matter. If not violation is found, a Notice of Right to Sue.
However, if "American Idol" allegations of racism are found, the commission will try to settle the matter or refer it to legal staff or the Department of Justice for further review. If unsuccessful, the complainant can then sue in regular court.
A final option is to dismiss the case altogether if there is nothing to go on.
TMZ spoke to "Idol" frontman, Nigel Lythgoe, who denied the allegations and was quite shocked by the claims.
"We treat everybody the same ... no matter the race, religion or sex. I think we've always had a fantastic share of talent from contestants both black and white ... I don't think I've ever seen racism at the show," he said in an interview.
Of note, despite the "American Idol" alleged racism charges, Fantasia Barrino, Jordin Sparks and Ruben Studdard, all African Americans, are first place winners.