A group of Nashville residents are planning to sue the makers of the TV programmes the bachelor and The Bachelorette for racial discrimination. A story from Hollywood Reporter (April 17, 2012) reveals that the group - led by football players Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson - have taken umbrage at the fact that the show has never featured a bachelor or bachelorette from an ethnic minority in 10 years and 23 series of being on air.
The Nashville group will be represented by three different law firms, Barrett Johnston, Mehri & Skalet and Perkins-Law. Hollywood Reporter spoke to Glen Rothstein, an attorney at Blank Rome, who explained that a case could be built against ABC, production companies Warner Horizon Television, Next Entertainment, NZK Productions and Bachelor executive producer Mike Fleiss, providing they can prove that would-be bachelors and bachelorettes "can establish that they were denied an opportunity to compete on the basis of race." The fact that a person of color has never been selected to take part in the show will not, in itself, be enough evidence on which to build a case.
Abc have declined to comment on the case, though this isn't the first time that the issue of race has been raised in relation to the programme. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly last year, Mike Fleiss said "I think Ashley 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." If that's the case, the plaintiffs may have a tough path ahead. Attorneys for the Nashville group released a press statement saying that they intended to file a complaint in federal court this morning.