Lawsuit Claims ‘Bachelor’ Show Discriminates

"The Bachelor." (ABC)

By SHEILA BURKE, Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Two black men are taking “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” to court with a lawsuit that claims the reality shows are blocking contestants of color from starring roles.

Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson filed a federal lawsuit in Nashville Wednesday. It says the popular TV shows are engaged in a pattern of racial discrimination that intentionally excludes people of color.

The two men say that after 10 years and a combined total of 23 seasons of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” neither has featured a single person of color in a central role.

The lawsuit names Michael Fleiss, the creator of the shows, as well as ABC, Warner Horizon Television, Next Entertainment and NZK Productions.

Calls and emails to Fleiss’ publicist and an email to an ABC publicist were not immediately returned.

The Nashville residents, one a small business owner and the other a teacher, applied unsuccessfully last year for the leading role in “The Bachelor.”

The suit says white applicants are featured prominently in the shows because of a calculation that “minorities in lead roles and interracial dating in unappealing to the shows’ audience.”

“The refusal to hire minority applicants is a conscious attempt to minimize the risk of alienating their majority-white viewership and the advertisers targeting that viewership. Nevertheless, such discrimination is impermissible under federal law.”

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