American Idol finalist Caleb Kennedy has issued a public apology after a controversial social media post that he filmed resurfaced online.
The short video clip, which was initially posted on Snapchat, shows Kennedy sitting next to and filming someone wearing what appears to be a Ku Klux Klan hood.
As the Herald-Journal reports, Kennedy’s family claim that the video was recorded when Kennedy was 12.
Kennedy, who is now 16, confirmed his exit from American Idol in a statement posted on his Instagram account on Wednesday (May 12) after the video emerged online.
“I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that’s not an excuse,” he wrote in his statement. “I wanna say sorry to all my fans and everyone who I have let down.”
Speaking to the Herald-Journal, Kennedy’s mother Anita Guy claimed that the video has been taken out of context.
“This video was taken after Caleb had watched the movie The Strangers: Prey at Night and they were imitating those characters,” she claimed. “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.”
Kennedy had been a fan favourite on American Idol after a performance of his original song ‘Nowhere’ won over judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie. Perry said of the performance: “You better finish that song ‘Nowhere’ because that song is going to take you somewhere.”
American Idol will next air on Sunday (May 16) when it is believed that one of the remaining four contestants will be eliminated.