"The Bachelor" has finally reacted to the discrimination lawsuit filed by two men who auditioned for the show. Through a statement released by Warner Horizon, one of the production companies behind the reality series, the producers said, "This complaint is baseless and without merit."
"In fact, we have had various participants of color throughout the series' history," they added. "And the producers have been consistently - and publicly - vocal about seeking diverse candidates for both programs. As always, we continue to seek out participants of color for both 'The Bachelor' and 'The Bachelorette'."
ABC and the producers of "The Bachelor" franchise are slapped with racial discrimination lawsuit by two African American men who were rejected at the audition of the dating show. Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson claimed they received different treatment when participating in an open casting call for The Bachelor/ette in August 2011.
Claybrooks said his interview process took less than half the time of white applicants in front of him, while Johnson said he "did not get the opportunity to even make it to the second level" like Claybrooks. "I was stopped by a young gentleman about five feet into the door. He saw fit to ask me exactly what was I doing here," the aspiring NFL player recalled.
Claybrooks and Johnson's lawyer Cyrus Mehri additionally said executive producer Mike Fleiss' insistence that there were not enough people of color applying for the show was "just pretext." The attorney went on accusing, "We think they purposely do not want people of color on this show... How do you explain zero [Bachelors and Bachelorettes of color] for 23 [seasons]?"
Mehri added, "The ripple of that form of discrimination is very powerful in this country. [ABC and the 'Bachelor' producers] are sending a message of exclusiveness - of denying people opportunity - and that has a negative effect on this country that we plan today to start to turn around."
They, moreover, believed their action will be a "landmark civil rights case that will move social justice and economic equality forward." Mehri went on affirming, "This is a case about hope and change."
As Mehri claimed, "We believe we have concrete solutions about how to make this show... into a kind of show that will be inclusive, will be diverse, and will better reflect this country," they suggested to make the show's casting semi-finals "more inclusive". Claybrooks and Johnson, however, refused to talk about their financial goals in the case.