ABC’s “American Idol” singing competition needs to do better background checks on their contestants, after a video surfaced of a current competitor sitting next to someone wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood.
A show spokesperson confirmed that top-five finalist Caleb Kennedy has been dismissed from the show after performing Coldplay’s “Violet Hill” on last Sunday’s episode.
In the three-second video, Kennedy can be seen briefly along with the caption “bow,” before turning the camera to the man next to him, who is wearing all white and a KKK-style hood.
THIS SHOULD’VE STAYED IN YOUR DRAFTS: American Idol contestant Caleb Kennedy allegedly seen in a resurfaced with someone wearing a KKK hood. Caleb is allegedly blocking anyone who mentions the video, according to multiple reports. pic.twitter.com/9OKHmvOCEB
— Def Noodles (@defnoodles) May 12, 2021
Following his release from the show, Kennedy posted a statement on Instagram. “Hey y’all, this is gonna be a bit of a surprise but I am no longer gonna be on ‘American Idol,’” he wrote. “There was a video that surfaced on the internet and it displayed actions that were not meant to be taken in that way.
“I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that’s not an excuse,” the sixteen-year-old singer explained. “I wanna say sorry to all my fans and everyone who I have let down. I’ll be taking a little time off social media to better myself, but saying that, I know this has hurt and disappointed a lot of people and made people lose respect for me. I’m so sorry! I pray that I can one day regain your trust in who I am and have your respect! Thank you for supporting me.”
Kennedy’s mother backed her son’s account in a statement. “This video was taken after Caleb had watched the movie ‘The Strangers: Prey at Night’ and they were imitating those characters,” she defended. “It had nothing to do with the Ku Klux Klan, but I know that’s how it looks. Caleb doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. He loves everyone and has friends of all races.”