Well if the show's lower ratings numbers, so far this season, weren't enough, American Idol producers and Fox may soon be dealing with a new headache.
And that's in the form of a lawsuit to be filed by New York attorney James Freeman on behalf of nine former black contestants on the show from various seasons, all claiming that they were intentionally and unjustly forced off the show as part of a "racist plot" to boost ratings for the show.
Freeman claims that the nine contestants – Corey Clark (Season 2), Jaered Andrews (Season 2), Donnie Williams (Season 3), Terrell Brittenum (Season 5), Derrell Brittenum (Season 5), Thomas Daniels (Season 6), Akron Watson (Season 6), Ju’Not Joyner (Season 8) and Chris Golightly (Season 9) – were unfairly removed from the show because of illegal violations of Califonia laws, which forbid any potential employer to ask any potential applicants about any past criminal history.
Freeman says that he first noticed something was amiss when, on last season's Idol, singer Jermaine Jones, was kicked off because, according to producers, he had failed to inform them about several outstanding warrants out for his arrest.
That caused Freeman to investigate the show, to discover nine other contestants who had been removed from the show during its history, and that all of the them have been black. He says that it is all part of a "cruel and inhumane" sinister plot to "exploit and humiliate" black contestants for ratings, and that the show has never once disqualified a white or non-black contestant from the show for as long as it's been on the air.
Freeman further says that none of the disqualified contestants had ever been convicted for the crimes they were charged with at the time they were removed from the show,
He has asked permission from the the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to sue the the producers and network, and plans to immediately go ahead once he gets, one assumes, the greenlight from the EEOC.
Meanwhile, Nigel Lythgoe, the executive producer of Idol, says that he's "shocked" by these allegations and that "we treat everyone the same no matter race, reigion or sex… I've never seen racism on the show."