Some of you may recall that, back in April, I reported about a federal class action lawsuit filed by two black Nashville football players, Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson, against ABC, production companies Warner Horizon Television, Next Entertainment, NZK Productions and The Bachelor’s executive producer Mike Fleiss, claiming discrimation against black particpants.
According to their official statement on why they were doing this, the plaintiffs claimed that: “all persons of color who have applied for the role of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, but been denied the equal opportunity for selection on the basis of race. Over a combined total of 23 seasons neither show has ever had a Bachelor or a Bachelorete of color.“
They further claimed that civil rights law “plainly prohibits whites from refusing to contract with African-Americans because of their race.”
Both Claybrooks and Johnson had tried out for the show and were rejected, and argued that their lawsuit “underscores the significant barriers that people of color continue to face in the media an the broader marketplace.“
The defendants, however, claimed that the First Amendment prevented such claims, and yesterday, a federal judge agreed with them, ordering the lawsuit to be thrown out of court.
In the judge’s ruling, he stated that “as the defendants persuasively argue, casting decisions are a necessary component of any entertainment show’s creative content…The plaintiffs seek to drive an artificial wedge between casting decisions and the end product, which itself is indisputably protected as speech by the First Amendment. Thus, regulating the casting process necessarily regulates the end product. In this respect, casting and the resulting work of entertainment are inseparable and must both be protected to ensure that the producers’ freedom of speech is not abridged.“
In other words, producers should be able cast whomever they want for TV shows or films, and not be afraid that they’re going to hit with a discrimination suit.
But, as I said in my earlier piece, does this all really matter? Is it that important whether some black guys get on The Bachelor? Seriously? I’m sure there are other easier ways of meeting white chicks.