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The Bachelor's Racial Discrimination Lawsuit: Minorities Were Kept Off

By Edward Tan, JD | Last updated on

A new class-action lawsuit against ABC's dating shows "The Bachelorette" and "The Bachelor" for racial discrimination is about to be filed. Fans of the shows should also note the forthcoming suit is perhaps the only actual reality to hit the two series in some time.

The lawsuit will be brought by a group of Nashville residents led by Nashville Storm linebacker Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson, a former wide receiver for Tennessee State. They'll be alleging the shows discriminate against minorities because they haven't featured a "Bachelor" or "Bachelorette" of color since they first aired.

While this all might sound like some bizarre marketing ploy, the future plaintiffs could actually have a case here.

Before a class action can go forward, a court must certify the group of plaintiffs as a class. To be a class, plaintiffs generally must show they are numerous, all rely on common facts, able to protect the class' interests, and all have the same harm.

Typically, the first three requirements aren't too difficult meet. It's the same harm requirement that usually throws a monkey wrench into most class actions. And in this case, it's no different.

For racial discrimination claims, most courts have required a showing of evidence beyond just a minority not holding a particular position. Usually it has to be shown that race was a deciding factor in selection.

At the moment, the lawyers representing "The Bachelor" class action haven't stated any evidence of racial discrimination other than every Bachelor and Bachelorette being white.

The shows have been accused of under representing minorities in the past. Executive producer, Mike Fleiss, claimed they wanted to feature people of color on "The Bachelor," but felt "guilty of tokenism," he said in an interview last year.

ABC declined to comment on "The Bachelor's" racial discrimination allegations.

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