African-American football players Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson are leading a group of Nashville residents in a class-action lawsuit against the ABC dating series “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” for racial discrimination.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the potential plaintiffs point out that over 10 years of the show and 23 seasons, the programs have yet to feature a single person of color as the main bachelor or bachelorette.
Attorneys for the prospective plaintiffs put out a news release saying they will be filing a complaint in federal court Wednesday morning (Apr. 18) against ABC, production companies Warner Horizon Television, Next Entertainment, NZK Productions and Bachelor executive producer Mike Fleiss, and they have scheduled a news conference to speak about the topic.
Claybrooks and Johnson are being represented by three law firms: Barrett Johnston, Mehri & Skalet and Perkins-Law. Claybrooks is listed as a linebacker on the roster of the Nashville Storm, a minor-league team, while Johnson played wide receiver at Tennessee State and is preparing to try out for NFL teams.
As previously reported, black sportscaster Lamar Hurd filmed a YouTube plea to be cast as the next “Bachelor,” but no word yet from Fleiss. In 2011, Entertainment Weekly asked Fleiss whether the show would ever feature someone who wasn’t white. His response:
“I think [then Bachelorette] Ashley [Herbert] 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.”