UPDATE: The class-action lawsuit has officially been filed against ABC and The Bachelor creator Michael Fleiss, among other parties, according to a news conference held by the plaintiffs today. They claim the show is advocating racism by refusing to include persons of color for fear of "alienating the show's majority-white viewership."
The group, led by Tennessee athletes Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson (who were both rebuffed when they attempted to audition for the dating competition show), are suing for producers to "consider persons of color as finalists for the role of the Bachelor and the Bachelorette," as well as unspecified punitive damages.
The Hollywood Reporter has the full complaint.
A group of Nashville residents led by football players Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson will file a class-action lawsuit against the popular ABC dating competition series The Bachelor and The Bachelorette for racial discrimination, says the Hollywood Reporter.
The plaintiffs make their case by pointing out that, in 23 seasons and 10 years, neither show has featured a single Bachelor or Bachelorette of color. Attorneys for the group say they will be filing a complaint in federal court on Wednesday morning, followed by a news conference.
TMZ reports that Claybrooks and Johnson, both African Americans, were marginalized during the show's open auditions, with Johnson telling the site that a producer even asked him what he was doing there before showing him the back door.
The Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss, who will be one of the parties named in the lawsuit, seemed to confirm the show's diversity problem in an interview with Entertainment Weekly last year:
"I think Ashley is 1/16th Cherokee Indian, but I cannot confirm," Fleiss said of his show's attempts to be PC. "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."
Neither ABC nor Fleiss have commented on the suit. Come back to BET.com for updates following the plaintiffs' news conference later today.
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