Viewers looking at the Bachelor
TWO BLACK men who said they were “lookin’ for love” and auditioned last summer for the popular ABC reality television show The Bachelor sued the network on Wednesday (April 18), saying they were rejected because of their race.
“They were tossed aside because of their race,” said Byron Perkins, one of a trio of prominent civil rights attorneys representing Nathaniel Claybrooks, 39, and Christopher Johnson, 26, in the suit filed in US District Court in Nashville.
The suit says ABC has never put a single person of color - whether African American, Hispanic or Asian - in the central role of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette.
The popular shows chronicle the search for a mate as the man or woman dates more than a dozen contenders. Each season ends with a final choice of a partner.
The two men said at a press conference they tried to audition for The Bachelor last summer in Nashville.
“I heard about a casting call,” said Claybrooks. “I said to myself ‘I’m single (I can try) to look for someone I could be compatible to in life lookin’ for love.’”
He said when he arrived at the auditions, the interviewers spent 45 to 60 minutes with “the white men in front of me” while they gave him only 15 to 20 minutes.
“They rushed me through. I was very upset about the situation and wanted an equal opportunity like anyone else.”
Johnson said his attempt at being interviewed for the role of The Bachelor lasted 30 seconds.
He said people of color “never get a show that shows we have love and affection for each other.”
Claybrooks, a former college and minor league football player, is an entrepreneur in Nashville. He owns a barber shop, a sports bar and a car detail business while also working as a meter reader for Nashville Electric Service.
Johnson is also a former college football player and now is a teacher and football coach in Nashville. He said he plans to try out for National Football League teams as a wide receiver soon and also has plans to enlist in the Air Force.
The lawsuit was filed against ABC, Warner Horizon Television Inc, Next Entertainment Inc, NZK Productions Inc and Michael Fleiss, executive producer of the two shows.
ABC, which is owned by The Walt Disney Co, said it had no comment on the lawsuit.
Warner Horizon Television, the production company behind The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, said in a statement the suit was “baseless and without merit.”
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