After a few weeks of quiet, ABC has issued a response to the class action lawsuit that two Tennessee men filed against the network and the producers of The Bachelor, charging racial discrimination.
ABC and Warner Horizon Television filed court documents last Friday, requesting that the suit be transferred out of the federal trial court in Tennessee, and moved to Los Angeles, which is where the casting decisions in questions were made. But the documents also revealed the reasoning by which the network and the producers are seeking a dismissal of the suit.
The simple claim: the parties have a First Amendment right to cast whoever they want. ABC says it has supporting case law on its side. But the network faces a tough balancing act, because it wants to preserve its right to make casting decisions without admitting the gist of the suit, which is that no one who is nonwhite need apply. ABC and the producers have always denied there was any discrimination on the shows, chalking up the relative lack of black participants to their refusal to apply in great numbers.
Coincidentally or not, there was a black contender on the current season of The Bachelorette, and the producers saw to it that he got highlighted on the premiere episode – the only one he appeared in before being sent home by Emily Maynard.