'Bachelor' franchise under fire for discrimination

1:38 PM, Apr 17, 2012   |    comments
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By Ann Oldenburg, USA TODAY

Can you recall a time in the 23 seasons and 10 years that it has been on the air that The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise has featured a person of color?

No. That's because there hasn't been one.

Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, a group of Nashville residents led by football stars Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson say they will file a class-action lawsuit against The Bachelor, which just wrapped up its 16th season, and The Bachelorette, which will kick off Season 8 with Emily Maynard in May, for racial discrimination.

Attorneys for the prospective plaintiffs put out a news release saying they will be filing a complaint in federal court on Wednesday against ABC, production companies Warner Horizon Television, Next Entertainment, NZK Productions and Bachelor executive producer Mike Fleiss, and they have scheduled a news conference to speak about the topic.

The lack of minority faces on the show has been raised before. Just last year, Entertainment Weekly asked Fleiss if he thought we would ever see a Bachelor or Bachelorette who is not white.

His answer: "I think Ashley (Hebert) 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."

Meanwhile, EW.com just reported last month that a movement is afoot pushing for Portland-based sportscaster Lamar Hurd to be the first black Bachelor.



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