Caleb Kennedy, 16, was kicked off American Idol last night after a KKK-themed video of him surfaced online. This announcement comes during the final rounds of the competition, leaving four AI contestants.
In the video, which was taken on Snapchat, Caleb can be seen sitting beside a friend with a white hood over their head. The hood resembles a Ku Klux Klan hood, and all that Caleb had to say at the time was a caption that read, “Oh my,” with a floating line that reads “bow.”
The former American Idol contestant addressed the controversy on Instagram last night, writing a long-winded explanation and apology. “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.”
He took a moment to apologize, especially 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.”
Caleb’s mother, Anita Guy, insists that the 4-year-old video was taken out of context. She claims that her son and his friend were imitating the movie The Strangers: Prey at Night, and “It had nothing to do with the Ku Klux Klan, but I know that’s how it looks.” She continued on to say, “Caleb doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.”
American Idol fans have taken to social media since the announcement, not to oppose Caleb’s exit but to demand singer-songwriter Hunter Metts be brought back to replace him. The contestant was voted off the show last week, and while many are on Twitter asking for his return, it has been reported that producers will not be replacing Caleb Kennedy.