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Christopher Johnson

Yesterday a class action lawsuit was filed against ABC and The Bachelor by Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson, two Africa-American men who claim they were discriminated against at a recent Bachelor casting event. A photo of the two men is above.

“This is a case about equal opportunity,” said Cyrus Mehri, who is one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs. “It’s about putting everyone on equal footing. We’re not saying that these two men should definitely have been selected. This is saying that they should have been given the same level of consideration as white applicants.” According to the LA Times, both men say, upon their arrival at a 2011 casting call they were treated with disrespect and largely ignored while white counterparts were treated completely differently.

Nathaniel Claybrooks, a small business owner, alleges his on-camera interview was much shorter than the ones given to white applicants and he was not given the same opportunities. Christopher Johnson says after handing in his application, he was unable to proceed past the lobby into the main interview room while white applicants were ushered right through by casting officials.

Both men claim rejection has nothing to do with their suit, but an effort to change the process and bring awareness to blatant discrimination. It’s worth adding that in fifteen seasons of The Bachelor, there has never been a bachelor of a different ethnic background. Nor has there been a Bachelorette of a different ethnicity. Now I’m not saying that’s intentional on the show’s part, but it is worth investigating. Show creator Mike Fleiss joked about this in an interview, saying former Bachelorette Ashely Hebert may have been 1/16th Cherokee.

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages. “But basically, this is about the need for reform,” their lawyer explains. ABC declined to comment on the recent suit.

Discussing the suit are two former Bachelor contestants. “It is clearly not right that after 10 years of successive seasons there hasn’t been a black Bachelor or Bachelorette, especially when we have a black president,” Matt Grant, star of The Bachelor, Season 12 told RadarOnline.

“As one of the longest running reality shows on TV, The Bachelor is a national brand, a part of American pop culture and part of the make-up of the country,” Matt continued “It should definitely be more racially diverse because it is not reflecting the demographic of the nation right now.” Matt adds that during his season, London Calling, there was only one African-American woman competing to be his wife – and he claims he brought up the lack of diversity with producers!

“While I don’t think any of the producers are inherently racist,” he added, “I just think that mistakes are being made.” Matt believes the contestants are merely chosen to reflect the primary viewership. “The real reason for it I think is because most of the viewers are from the middle of the country and are predominantly white. Which leads to the moral question, ‘Should The Bachelor cast reflect the viewing demographic or the real national demographic?’” This Matt is pretty smart isn’t he? He needed television to find a wife?

“If you have more black people involved in the show then maybe more black people would watch,” said Matt added.

Also speaking out, is former Bachelor and Bachelor Pad nut contestant, Elizabeth Kitt. “The cast was predominantly white,” she tells RadarOnline. “I didn’t hear any racist slurs during filming so to say the show is racist is going too far, if you throw that out there too many times it is the boy who cried wolf.”

Elizabeth seems to think the lawsuit is baseless and believes it’s simply a case of more white people applying to be on the show, a sentiment Mike Fleiss has also echoed. “I’m a little annoyed by the lawsuit, if you want to be on the show – then apply!”

[Photo Credit: LA Times]

DO THE PLAINTIFFS HAVE A POINT? IS THE BACHELOR INTENTIONALLY CASTING WHITE CONTESTANTS OR IS IT MERELY A COINCIDENCE? DOES THE BACHELOR NEED TO DIVERSIFY?

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