American Idol’s Top 5 just became a Top 4. Finalist Caleb Kennedy has left the show after a racist Snapchat video featuring Kennedy sitting next to someone appearing to wear a Ku Klux Kan hood made the rounds on social media. American Idol confirmed the 16-year-old Kennedy’s exit in a statement to People, saying, “American Idol contestant Caleb Kennedy will no longer be moving forward in the competition.” Recently eliminated contestants Arthur Gunn and Hunter Metts will not be returning to the singing competition to replace Kennedy; instead, Sunday’s episode will feature the remaining four semifinalists, Chayce Beckham, Casey Bishop, Grace Kinstler, and Willie Spence, one of whom will be eliminated.
In the video, Kennedy is seen allegedly sitting beside a person wearing a KKK-style hood, a historic symbol of white domestic terrorism and racism. In an Instagram post, Kennedy revealed that he was leaving the singing competition, writing, “There was a video that surfaced on the internet and it displayed actions that were not meant to be taken in that way.” The South Carolinian continued, “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.”
Kennedy’s mother, Anita Guy, told the Spartanburg Herald-Journal that Kennedy doesn’t have “a racist bone in his body,” and that the video has been misinterpreted. “This video was taken after Caleb had watched the movie The Strangers: Prey at Night, and they were imitating those characters,” Guy maintained. “He loves everyone and has friends of all races.” A slasher film from 2018 starring Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks, The Strangers: Prey at Night depicts people wearing white face masks and head coverings, albeit in different shapes and styles than the one clearly depicted in the alleged video of Kennedy.
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