Entertainment & Sports Law

Citing First Amendment, Federal Judge Tosses Bias Suit over 'Bachelor' Casting


ABC and the producers of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have a First Amendment right to make casting decisions, a federal judge has ruled.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger of Nashville dismissed a suit claiming racial discrimination by the shows, report the Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Esq. and the Associated Press.

The plaintiffs are two black men, Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson, who allege they were given little consideration at a casting call for The Bachelor. They claimed the show and its spinoff discriminate against minorities.

When the plaintiffs filed their suit, all the men who got featured roles in The Bachelor’s first 16 seasons were white, AP says.

Trauger praised the plaintiffs’ goals, but said the First Amendment bars them from regulating the content of the shows.

“The plaintiffs’ goals here are laudable,” Trauger wrote. “They seek to support the social acceptance of interracial relationships, to eradicate outdated racial taboos, and to encourage television networks not to perpetuate outdated racial stereotypes. 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.”

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