Two Tennessee men who claim they were jilted by “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” shows because of their race will sue the producers for racial discrimination.
Last year, executive producer Mike Fleiss was asked whether The Bachelor would ever feature someone who wasn’t white. He responded:
“I think Ashley 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.”
The lawsuit will be filed in a U.S. District Court Wednesday “on behalf of all persons of color who have applied for the role of the bachelor or bachelorette but been denied the equal opportunity for selection on the basis of race,” they said in a news release.
“Over 10 years and a combined total of 23 seasons of ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Bachelorette,’ neither show has ever featured a single person of color in the central role of the ‘Bachelor’ or ‘Bachelorette,’” the release said.
A spokesman for ABC, which carries the reality TV series and is named as a defendant, said the network would not comment.