"The Bachelor" Sued For Racial Discrimination
Nashville residents Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson, an All-American football player and an aspiring NFL player, respectively, filed the lawsuit and are requesting class action status for the case.
“I only wanted a fair shot at the part. Looking back at how I was treated at the casting call last year, it was clear that that wasn’t possible—I never even had a chance,” Mr. Claybrooks told reporters at a press conference held just one block from Hotel Indigo, where aspiring Bachelors had gathered for a Nashville casting call last year.
“I knew at the time that there had never been a non-white Bachelor before, but I thought that a minority candidate with my qualifications would at least be considered,” added Mr. Johnson. “In reality, it seems they never seriously looked at non-white candidates.”
American Broadcast Companies, Inc,, Warner Horizon, Inc., Next Entertainment, Inc., NZK productions, Inc., and Michael Fleiss, the executive producer of the franchise, are all included in the suit. The plaintiffs accuse that the Defendant violated both federal and California laws intended to guarantee equal opportunity in business, commerce, and media regardless of one’s skin color.
“With this case we expect to bring about change in one of America’s leading reality TV shows by achieving fair competition and inclusion going forward,” co-counsel Cyrus Mehri of the DC-based firm Mehri & Skalet PLLC said. “The Bachelor series is an example of purposeful segregation in the media that perpetuates stereotypes, and robs persons of color in the entertainment industry.”
The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction requiring the Defendants to adopt appropriate policies with regard to choosing a Bachelor or Bachelorette of color on the two shows has been well-documented in the media and is the subject of frequent commentary.
Creator Micheal Fleiss has responded to the outcry, telling Entertainment Weekly, “We always want to cast for ethnic diversity. It’s just that for whatever reason, they don’t come forward. I wish they would.”
Industry insiders told the Los Angeles Times that, “producers had little interest in pursuing a more diverse cast, and were unwilling to vary the chemistry of a hugely popular series and wary of a potential controversy stemming from an interracial romance.”
The next season of “The Bachelorette” is scheduled to start on May 14. Emily Maynard, the Bachelorette selected for the show’s upcoming eighth season is caucasian.