Two black men accuse ABC of racial bias over "The Bachelor"

Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:08pm EDT
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By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) - 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, 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 U.S. 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."   Continued...

Christopher Johnson talks with the media during a news conference to discuss his and Nathaniel Claybrooks' lawsuit against ABC's reality TV shows "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" in Nashville, Tennessee April 18, 2012. REUTERS/Harrison McClary