'American Idol' Finalist Caleb Kennedy Booted Over Video Clip
American Idol finalist Caleb Kennedy is off the show after a three-second video surfaced showing him with someone wearing what appears to be a Ku Klux Klan hood.
The 15-year-old was in the Top 5 with Willie Spence, Grace Kinstler, Chayce Beckham and Casey Bishop.
“I am no longer gonna be on American Idol,” he wrote in a message on Instagram. “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.
“I wanna say sorry to all my fans and everyone who I have let down.”
Kennedy said he plans to “better myself.”
The teen’s mother Anita Guy said in a statement that her son “doesn’t have a racist bone in his body” and the video shows him at 12 with a friend imitating characters they saw in the 2018 thriller The Strangers: Prey at Night.
“It had nothing to do with the Ku Klux Klan, but I know that’s how it looks,” she said.
In his message, Kennedy acknowledged: “I know this has hurt and disappointed a lot of people and made people lose respect for me. I’m so sorry!”
Kennedy, who is from South Carolina, posted a video on Instagram last year in which he is wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap.