“American Idol” contestant Caleb Kennedy won’t participate in the finals after he was spotted in a video next to someone wearing what appeared to be a Ku Klux Klan hood.
Kennedy, 16, shared the news of his departure from the show in a statement Wednesday on Instagram.
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“Hey y’all, this is gonna be a bit of a surprise but I am no longer gonna be on American Idol,” Kennedy wrote in his statement. “There was a video that surfaced on the internet and it displayed actions that were not meant to be taken in that way.” (RELATED: ‘American Idol’ Contestant Faints On Stage, Transported To Hospital)
“I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that’s not an excuse,” he continued. “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.”
Kennedy’s mom, Anita Guy, told MSN that the video in question was filmed when Kennedy was 12 years old and that the boys were imitating characters out of a horror movie.
“I hate this has happened and how Caleb is being portrayed by people online,” Guy told the outlet. “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.”
“The Strangers: Prey At Night” was released in 2018.
A character featured in the movie did wear a white hood.