The Bachelor sued over 'racial bias'

2012-04-19 08:34

Los Angeles - ABC has been sued for alleged racial discrimination for featuring only white people in the lead roles on its popular dating shows The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.

Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson, a pair of African-Americans and football players who had tried out for The Bachelor, said ABC has intentionally excluded non-whites from the shows during their 10-year run, comprising 16 seasons of The Bachelor and seven of The Bachelorette.

The Nashville, Tennessee, residents claimed in the suit filed on Wednesday that ABC excludes non-whites solely because of the perceived risk that more diverse casting would alienate white viewers, which are a majority, as well as advertisers. They also said nearly all Bachelor or Bachelorette suitors have been white.

'Guilty of tokenism'

"Defendants are making the calculation that minorities in lead roles and interracial dating is unappealing to the shows' audiences," the complaint said. "The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are examples of purposeful segregation in the media that perpetuates racial stereotypes and denies persons of color opportunities in the entertainment industry."

ABC is a unit of Walt Disney. An ABC spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Other defendants include Michael Fleiss, the shows' producer, and several production companies.

The lawsuit filed in Nashville federal court seeks class-action status on behalf of non-whites who applied unsuccessfully to star on the two shows. It seeks an order directing ABC to consider non-whites for those roles, as well as punitive damages and other remedies.

A news conference was scheduled for later on Wednesday.

Last year, when asked if the shows would feature non-whites, Fleiss was quoted as saying to Entertainment Weekly: "I think Ashley (the 2011 Bachelorette) is 1/16th Cherokee Indian, but I cannot confirm. But that is my suspicion! We really tried, but sometimes we feel guilty of tokenism. Oh, we have to wedge African-American chicks in there! We always want to cast for ethnic diversity, it's just that for whatever reason, they don't come forward. I wish they would."

The Bachelor made its debut on ABC in 2002. It features a single man who chooses a potential wife from a pool of about 20 women. That pool is narrowed after weekly dates. The Bachelorette began to air the following year.

* The 15th season of The Bachelor airs on Vuzu (DStv channel 123) at 20:30 every Friday.

Comments

  • Chris - 2012-04-19 08:47

    Someone alert the UN, this clearly a crisis!

      Preshen - 2012-04-19 10:08

      it must be a size issue

      Preshen - 2012-04-19 10:08

      it must be a size issue

      Rob - 2012-04-19 11:49

      Good one Preshen.

      Rob - 2012-04-19 11:49

      Good one Preshen.

  • Gichumz - 2012-04-19 08:59

    What about 2 and a half men?? Why not sue them too??? Yus what is this world coming too? Next i wont be able to go to the toilet without a different race coming with!!

  • yolande.rwaai - 2012-04-19 09:14

    Who wants to be on that dumb show anyways! We all know they're not there 'cause they're looking for love. They just want their 15 minutes of fame

  • natasha.prins1 - 2012-04-19 09:24

    Omg, why must everything be turned into a racial fight.

      Ron - 2012-04-19 13:10

      Agreed - racism is so last millenium! Time the world focused on more important issues!

      Ron - 2012-04-19 13:10

      Agreed - racism is so last millenium! Time the world focused on more important issues!

      Christopher - 2012-04-19 13:38

      its a black thing!

  • jpstrauss - 2012-04-19 10:07

    Christopher Johnson?! Wasn't he one of the prawns in District 9?

  • Wizcom - 2012-04-19 13:23

    These people really need to grow up! We live in 2012 not 1912. Its always about the colour or color if you are yank! Do you EVER hear of white folk complaining about the colour of African-American soupies or movies??? So many to name!!

  • Christopher - 2012-04-19 13:44

    Well maybe the Bachelor or Bachelorette does not like going out with a different race group. Otherwise it will be even more racist when he or she votes all the black contestants out first...

      lwando.poni - 2012-04-19 17:01

      My thoughts exactly, Americans are so petty.

      lwando.poni - 2012-04-19 17:01

      My thoughts exactly, Americans are so petty.

  • Samantha - 2012-04-19 13:50

    They can have a Miss Black American Pageant....why don't they just have a show themselves. And call it, The Black Bachelorette? The have had black woman and men in the show before...

  • stampalex - 2012-04-19 15:10

    Hey, all over the world every day and in every way Black people cannot get over themselves. Their race is their crutch for non-performance - their lack of conscience and inability to actually earn their way in the world is their shame. But to feel shame you have to care and have a conscience. It is depressing that Black people only have their race to play cards with.

      lwando.poni - 2012-04-19 16:59

      Generalizing much?

      lwando.poni - 2012-04-19 16:59

      Generalizing much?

  • bashin.monyela - 2012-04-19 15:40

    Yeah we stil got bigger pipes, though

  • lwando.poni - 2012-04-19 16:58

    Perhaps they do have a point because I too havent watched the show largely because I dont relate to it but I dont understand why they are suing ABC because its what America wants. Why not make their own show that will feature blacks? Americans are so petty arg...

  • Julie - 2012-04-19 17:22

    I thought issues like this only happens in South Africa...... +

  • tsaneka1 - 2012-04-19 20:21

    Idiots, with too much time on their hands.

  • brionyl.french - 2012-04-20 06:32

    I think its a crap show anyways... I think it promotes Promiscuity

  • Chriskoi1 - 2012-04-20 09:05

    Can't the guy or girl get their own mate for the future if they can't do it then they have to stay single and buy themselves playboy toys .

  • Se-a Spencer Ikeremm - 2012-04-21 09:08

    Some people out there are lonely only because they are looking at just one race when trying to find love. Really, maybe Piet's soul mate is Lerato, but Piet doesn't even associate with black people on a social level. It's just always that "hi" & "bye" at the office.

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