Caleb Kennedy, American Idol finalist, has quit the show amid racist scandal after an old video surfaced that shows him sitting next to someone wearing what appears to be a Ku Klux Klan hood. On Wednesday, the 16-year-old country singer took to Instagram to announce that he has left his the ABC series. Kennedy was among the top-five finalists on the show.
Kennedy apologized for the sequence of events and said he hoped to redeem his reputation moving forward. According to the Herald-Journal, the singer's relatives said that the Snapchat video in question was taken four years ago when he was 12 and he did it unknowingly.
On Wednesday, Kannedy took to Instagram to announce that the controversial video featuring him was the reason he has decided to leave American Idol. "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 Spartanburg, South Carolina native said of the video which shows him sitting next to a person in a Ku Klux Klan hood. However, the identity of that person isn't known.
"I wanna say sorry to all my fans and everyone who I have let down," Kennedy further said, adding, "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, Anita Guy, told MSN in a statement, wherein she claimed that the video was taken when Kennedy was 12 and inspired by a movie he had seen and there was no other intention in it.
Mother Comes to Defense
Naturally, Guy is quite upset about the sequence of events and feels that Kennedy in no way should be blamed for the video. "This video was taken after Caleb had watched the movie The Strangers: Prey at Night and they were imitating those characters. 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," she said in her statement.
Kennedy had posted an upbeat message on Instagram on Tuesday, thanking his followers for their support. "Hey guys! So glad to have y'all on the journey with me through #Americanidol," he wrote. "Also really happy to be in the studio working on songs!! I love you guys so much!!"
However, things changed overnight following the sudden reappearance of the Snapchat video. The show now will move forward without Kennedy. The remaining finalists include Willie Spence, Grace Kinstler, Chayce Beckham and Casey Bishop.
On the most recent episode this past Sunday, May 9, Kennedy performed a throaty version of the Coldplay song 'Violet Hill', plus an original tune, 'Mama Said'. That said, Kennedy's shocking is the second this season after Wyatt Pike, 20, left the show after making it to the the top 12, citing "personal reasons."