ABC’s dating series "The Bachelor" has been threatened with a racial discrimination lawsuit, the New York Post reports. Two athletes who were interviewed for the series but were rejected said they planned to file the suit, according to the report.
Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson, both African American, are NFL hopefuls who played for Tennessee State, the story notes. They scheduled a press conference today to discuss their lawsuit.
ABC hasn’t featured a person of color as the central character on either "The Bachelor" or "The Bachelorette" in the 10 years the franchise has aired on television — a combined total of 23 seasons, the men said.
Claybrooks and Johnson, who are represented by three law firms, said they plan to file a class-action complaint in federal court today against executive producer Mike Fleiss, Next Entertainment and ABC, the story adds.
Fleiss was asked in the past by Entertainment Weekly whether the show would ever feature a non-white “Bachelor,” the story notes. Said Fleiss: “I think Ashley [Hebert the last ‘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.”