“American Idol” contestant Caleb Kennedy took to Instagram on Wednesday to address an old Snapchat video in which he’s seated beside someone wearing what appears to be a Ku Klux Klan-style hood.
“Hey y’all, this is gonna be a bit of a surprise, but I am no longer gonna be on American Idol. There was a video that surfaced on the internet and it displayed actions that were not meant to be taken in that way,” the 16-year-old country singer wrote.
The production company behind “American Idol” confirmed to ABC News that Kennedy, who was in the top five, is no longer on the show. This Sunday’s episode will feature the final four contestants, with one singer being eliminated.
“I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that’s not an excuse,” Kennedy said in the post. “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,” the Roebuck, South Carolina, native concluded.
Kennedy’s family told South Carolina’s Herald-Journal that the video was recorded when he was 12 years old.
Kennedy’s mother, Anita Guy, insists there was no malice intended in the three-second video.
“I hate this has happened and how Caleb is being portrayed by people online,” Guy told the Herald-Journal. “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,” she continued. “Caleb doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. He loves everyone and has friends of all races.”
Guy also said Kennedy enjoyed the film “V for Vendetta” and even dressed up as the main character, V, for Halloween when he was in the 7th grade. In the film, V wears a Guy Fawkes mask.
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