American Idol is at the centre of a racism lawsuit after it was claimed black contestants were booted from the hit talent show as a direct result of discrimination. obtained a letter filed with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by New York lawyer James H Freeman, which accused the show of deliberately exploiting black contestants to improve ratings.

Entertainment lawyer Freeman requested permission to sue American Idol and Fox on behalf of nine former singing contestants who believe they were forced from the competition because of their race. His clients include Corey Clark, Jaered Andrews, Donnie Williams, Terrell Brittenum, Derrell Brittenum, Thomas Daniels, Akron Watson, Ju'Not Joyner and Chris Golightly. Freeman says he noticed something was awry when Jermaine Jones was kicked off the show in March 2012, with producers claiming he was disqualified because he had not told the show there were outstanding warrants for his arrest. Nine other people had been publically disqualified from the show: all were black. 

Three black contestants have won the show, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino and Jordin Sparks, while prominent judge Randy Jackson is black. Season two contestant Corey Clark sued MTV for $40 million in 2012 for their coverage of his disqualification from the show. 

Fox are yet to be comment on the lawsuit.

Watch Jermaine Jones' American Idol Audition In 2012 (Before He Was Disqualified)