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First Amendment vs. Civil Rights Law: Gavel Comes Down in Lawsuit Against ABC's 'The Bachelor' THR

A class-action lawsuit against the ABC reality franchise "The Bachelor" alleging racial discrimination by the show has been dismissed, with a judge for the U.S. District Court in Tennessee ruling that the suit’s civil rights argument doesn’t stand up to First Amendment review, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Hollywood, Esq.

The lawsuit was brought by Nashville residents and led by Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson, who alleged that the roles of Bachelor and Bachelorette on the reality shows failed to include non-white cast members. They argued that civil rights law "plainly prohibits whites from refusing to contract with African Americans because of their race."

But the defendants, ABC and Warner Horizon Television, argued that the First Amendment protects them against such claims, and the judge agreed.

"As defendants persuasively argue, casting decisions are a necessary component of any entertainment show's creative content," the judge wrote. "In this respect, casting and the resulting work of entertainment are inseparable and must both be protected to ensure that the producers' freedom of speech is not abridged."