Because everyone should have the chance to turn the quest for true love into TV fodder, two black men will file a class-action racial discrimination lawsuit today against the ABC reality dating shows The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.
Football players Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson note that—in 10 years and 23 combined seasons—no person of color has ever been a Bachelor or Bachelorette. Their suit targets ABC, Warner Horizon Television, Next Entertainment, NZK Productions and the show’s executive producer Mike Fleiss.
According to Reuters, the pair have also scheduled a news conference to address the lawsuit, which they filed “on behalf of all persons of color who have applied for the role of the Bachelor or the Bachelorette but been denied the equal opportunity for selection on the basis of race.”
In a 2011 interview with Entertainment Weekly, producer Mike Fleiss explained the show’s lack of diversity as follows: “I think Ashley [the 2011 Bachelorette] 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.”