'Bachelor' Lawsuit Dismissed: Producers Protected by 1st Amendment

By Andrew Lu on October 16, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Two black men brought a lawsuit against ABC's The Bachelor charging that the show discriminated against men of color.

A federal judge dismissed the case and said that the casting decisions by the producers of the show were protected by the First Amendment.

The judge did call the lawsuit brought by Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson as "laudable," but said that the plaintiffs had no right to regulate the show's content, reports Fox News.

If you've ever watched the The Bachelor or the The Bachelorette, you'd know there is some merit to the plaintiffs' claims. There are very few minorities on the show. In fact, all of the "bachelors" during the 16 years of the series have been white, and almost all of the mates chosen by the "bachelorette" have been white, reports Fox News.

While casting an all-white cast may be discriminatory, the judge found that the producers of the show had this right out of artistic First Amendment protection. The Bachelor may be a "reality" show, but the series is still a highly dramatized and edited television show made to entertain.

And just as movie directors and television producers can cast attractive women to appeal to hot blooded young men, the same can be said for The Bachelor.

The judge wrote: "Ultimately, whatever messages The Bachelor and The Bachelorette communicate or are intended to communicate -- whether explicitly, implicitly, intentionally, or otherwise -- the First Amendment protects the right of the producers of these shows to craft and control those messages, based on whatever considerations the producers wish to take into account."

Even though the lawsuit was dismissed, viewers of the show can still voice their displeasure by simply not watching. If enough viewers simply switch the channel, ABC may be forced to mix up their formula, by mixing up their cast.

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