For those of you unfamiliar with the hit reality television show The Bachelor and its spin-off The Bachelorette, these two shows have become the standard for the modern day dating competition. Gone are the days when men and women went on television to pick out a date based on common interests or looks. Today, dating competitions have morphed into season-long, drama-filled reality television shows where participants live in homes together and scheme against one another to win the competition, which may result in a few dates, a relationship, and even marriage.
The Bachelor is one of those reality television shows and has become a relatively well-known fixture in most households. The show first premiered in March of 2002 and has been running for sixteen seasons now. It’s spin-off show The Bachelorette first premiered in January of 2003 and is now in its eighth season.
In April of this year, Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson, both of Tennessee, filed a lawsuit against the ABC reality dating show The Bachelor and The Bachelorette claiming the producers of the show intentionally exclude people of color from participating as the Bachelor or the Bachelorette on the respective shows. Mr. Claybrooks and Mr. Johnson claim the show is in violation of federal civil rights laws. The lawsuit alleges that in the past sixteen seasons of The Bachelor and the past eight seasons of The Bachelorette, the shows’ producers have not yet casted a person of color as the main character of Bachelor or Bachelorette.
However, recent court filings by the shows’ producers reveal that attorneys for the reality show will be bringing a motion to dismiss based upon the argument that “television casting decisions are protected by the First Amendment.” It will certainly be interesting to see how this lawsuit plays out and if it will in any way alter or affect these popular dating shows.