Summary List Placement
16-year-old “American Idol” contestant Caleb Kennedy has exited the talent show after a video surfaced online that showed the South Carolina native seated next to an individual wearing a white hood reminiscent of the covering worn by the Ku Klux Klan.
On Wednesday, ABC confirmed to People magazine that Kennedy would no longer “be moving forward in the competition” and Sunday’s show will now only feature four finalists with one elimination. Kennedy also announced his departure and apologized for the video in a statement posted to Instagram.
“Hey y’all this is gonna be a bit of a surprise, but I am no longer going to be on American Idol,” Kennedy 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 statement continues: “I wanna say I’m 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.”
Internet reporter Def Noodles shared the video on Twitter. It shows Kennedy filming someone wearing a hood that is associated with the Klan, an American white supremacist terrorist hate group dating back to the 19th century and known for targeting African Americans among other minority groups.
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
In a statement given to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Kennedy’s mother, Anita Guy, said the video was made when the singer was 12 years old. She said the video was not made in reference to the KKK, but rather the movie “The Strangers: Prey at Night.”
“It had nothing to do with the Ku Klux Klan, but I know that’s how it looks,” she said. “Caleb doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. He loves everyone and has friends of all races.”
Kennedy, who is still a high-school sophomore, according to the Herald-Journal, was quickly wiped from all official “American Idol” communications and social media posts.