Nathaniel Claybrooks

*Two African-American men have just made good on their intent to file a racial discrimination lawsuit against the producers of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.”

Christopher Johnson and Nathaniel Claybrooks are appearing with their legal team in a press conference to discuss the racism accusations outlined in the complaint filed today in Tennessee federal court. [Scroll down to read in its entirety.]

Johnson says he filled out an application to be on the show and showed up at a casting call, where he was allegedly stopped immediately by an employee for the show and asked why he was there. The employee took his application materials, according to the complaint, and said he’d pass it on. He was never contacted.

Christopher Johnson

The lawsuit is based on alleged violations of civil rights laws. The plaintiffs point out that since the Civil Rights Act of 1866, federal law has guaranteed every person within the United States “the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts . . . as is enjoyed by white citizens . . . .”

The law says the class action, “plainly prohibits whites from refusing to contract with African Americans because of their race.”

The lawsuit is also intended to have a broader social message. According to the complaint, “the deliberate exclusion of people of color from the roles of the Bachelor and Bachelorette underscores the significant barriers that people of color continue to face in media and the broader marketplace.”

The plaintiffs are asking for an order that would require producers to adopt appropriate policies and programs with their alleged legal obligations. The class action also seeks punitive damages and attorney’s fees.

Read the complaint below.