*ABC’s “Bachelor” franchise, which has been criticized and even sued for its severe lack of minorities, is the target of a new social media campaign launched by a woman trying to be the first African American in franchise history to hand out roses.
Misee Harris, a 28-year-old pediatric dentist from Tennessee, has fired up a Facebook page to help in her endeavor.
Harris – who does charity work and loves sports – was actually chosen to be a contestant on “The Bachelor” but bowed out for fear of being the “token” black chick, reports Jezebel.
As previously reported, there were four black contestants vying for Sean Lowe’s hand this season.
*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.
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.
*African American football players Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson are leading a group of Nashville residents in a class-action lawsuit to be filed Wednesday (April 18) 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 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 (not the star running back for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans) 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.”