The Bachelor, Ben Flajnik
Two African-American men are planning to sue the producers of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette for racial discrimination, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
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Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson plan to file a lawsuit Wednesday morning in federal court against ABC, production companies Warner Horizon Television, Next Entertainment, NZK Productions and executive producer Mike Fleiss. The men have also scheduled a press conference to speak about the suit, their lawyers said.
In the suit, Claybrooks, a linebacker on the Nashville Storm, and Johnson, an aspiring NFL player, point out that in 10 years and 23 seasons, there has never been a Bachelor or Bachelorette of color.
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According to TMZ, Johnson says that when he and Claybrooks went to a Nashville audition for The Bachelor, they were asked what they were doing there. The men say they were then sent to the side of the room and were excluded from the normal audition process, which they attributed to their race.
Last year, when asked about the lack of minorities on the franchise, Fleiss told Entertainment Weekly that none have come forward.
"I think Ashley [Hebert] is 1/16th Cherokee Indian, but I cannot confirm," he said. "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."
ABC declined to comment.