An American Idol contestant has been removed from the show after a video emerged of him with a friend dressed as a Ku Klux Klan member.
Caleb Kennedy was set to appear as a top-five finalist on the show, but revealed in a post on Instagram on Wednesday, May 13, that he would no longer be participating in the competition.
‘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.’
The video in question seems to be taken from an old Snapchat post, and shows Caleb hanging out in a room with a friend who is wearing a pointed hood with eyeholes cut out, in what seems like a pretty unmistakable reference to the KKK.
In a post on Twitter sharing the footage, user @defnoodles claimed that Caleb was blocking users who mentioned the video in attempt to stop it from spreading, however the singer later took to social media to confirm that the controversy had resulted in him leaving the show.
Caleb also attempted to explain his actions, while offering an apology to his fans.
I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that’s not an excuse. 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.
A representative for American Idol has since confirmed the singer’s departure, according to the New York Post.
Meanwhile Caleb’s mother, Anita Guy, has spoken out in defence of her son’s actions, saying that the video, which was filmed when Caleb was 12 years old, had ‘nothing to do’ with the KKK.
‘This video was taken after Caleb had watched the movie The Strangers: Prey at Night and they were imitating those characters,’ she told MSN, ‘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.’