As reported yesterday, two Black men have moved forward with a law suit against ABC and the producers of the network’s hit shows The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, claiming they discriminate against people of color during casting.

Nathaniel Claybrooks, the former all-American football player pictured above, and Christopher Johnson, an aspiring NFL player, spoke out at a press conference yesterday evening with their lawyers Cyrus Mehri and Byron Perkins, reports

During the press conference the team announced that they believe this is a “landmark civil rights case that will move social justice and economic equality forward.”

“How do you explain zero [Bachelors and Bachelorettes] of color for 23 seasons?” asks Mehri. In their suit, Claybrooks and Johnson are claiming the network and its producers “purposefully discriminate against all people of color”, not just Blacks.

Both men attended an open audition for The Bachelorette in Nashville during the summer of 2011 and say they were unfairly treated based on their race. Johnson says he never even made it to a second level interview, and Claybrooks claims his interview process took less than half the time of white applicants in front of him.

“I was stopped by a young gentleman about five feet into the door,” says Johnson. “He saw fit to ask me exactly what I was doing here.”

“These two gentleman have come forward and so have dozens of other people… all they’re seeking is an equal opportunity, an equal chance to compete,” says Mehri.

At this time, Claybrooks and Johnson have not revealed whether or not they seek to gain a financial settlement. There has been no comment from ABC, but Warner Horizon Television, which is one of the show’s producers, responded, saying the allegations are “baseless and without merit.” Before news of this law suit broke, it was last reported that the network took a meeting with Portland-based sportscaster Lamar Hurd, who has been campaigning publicly to become the first Black bachelor on the show.

Do you think this could be a “landmark civil rights case?”

Photo: AP Images