Former American Idol Contestants File Multi-Million-Dollar Lawsuit Against The Show Citing Racial Discrimination

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10 former American Idol contestants have filed a lawsuit against the show, and are seeking damages of $25 million dollars each.

EW and TMZ both cite sources claiming that Corey Clark (Season 2, pictured), Jaered Andrews (Season 2), Jacob John Smalley (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) are part of a lawsuit that claims that were mistreated while on the show and unfairly disqualified from the competition, mainly due to their race.

Related: Q&A ‘American Idol’ Runner-up Kree Harrison On What’s Next, Grand Ole Opry & More

The lawsuit stems from a letter submitted in January by New York City lawyer James H. Freeman on behalf the 10 contestants to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The letter cited “cruel and inhumane” treatment, claiming that Idol‘s producers have only publicly disqualified 10 contestants in the show’s history, all of whom were black.

Freeman also claimed that the show illegally dredged up arrest records to make the black contestants appear to be “violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants,” further perpetuating “destructive stereotypes.” EW reports that none of the 10 members of the lawsuit were convicted of charges stemming from their arrests.

The claims of racial profiling continue, as Freeman claims that American Idol never probed into white contestants’ criminal histories — purportedly only black contestants were questioned.

Representatives for both American Idol and the plaintiffs have not commented on this story.

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