The racial discrimination lawsuit against the Bachelor and Bachelorette has been dismissed by a judge. Christopher Johnson and Nathaniel Claybrooks claimed racial discrimination after they auditioned for the show in April. As a result, they filed a class action lawsuit against ABC, Warner Horizon Television, Next Entertainment, NZK Productions, and creator Mike Fleiss.
Christopher and Nathaniel drew attention to the fact that neither show has ever featured a person of color and the majority of contestants vying for roses have been white. The pair's lawyers argued that the producers of the Bachelor needed to respect the Civil Rights Act and other anti-discrimination laws. In addition, Christopher and Nathaniel wished to force the Bachelor to have persons of color as finalists.
Judge Aleta Trauger ruled in favor of ABC and granted their motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
"The Shows' casting decisions are part and parcel of the Shows' creative content, which the plaintiffs seek to reform. That is plainly an attempt to regulate the content of the Shows, which the First Amendment forbids," Judge Trauger ruled. "In this respect, casting and the resulting work of entertainment are inseparable and must both be protected to ensure that the producers' freedom of speech is not abridged."
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"The plaintiffs' goals here are laudable: they seek to support the social acceptance of interracial relationships, to eradicate outdated racial taboos, and to encourage television networks not to perpetuate outdated racial stereotypes," Judge Trauger wrote. "Nevertheless, the First Amendment prevents the plaintiffs from effectuating these goals by forcing the defendants to employ race-neutral criteria in their casting decisions in order to 'showcase' a more progressive message."
Judge Trauger concluded, "Ultimately, whatever messages The Bachelor and The Bachelorette communicate or are intended to communicate – whether explicitly, implicitly, intentionally, or otherwise – the First Amendment protects the right of the producers of these shows to craft and control those messages, based on whatever considerations the producers wish to take into account."
Following the dismissal, WB Entertainment spokesman Paul McGuire said, “We felt from the onset this case was completely without merit and we are pleased the Court has found in our favor."
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