Caleb Kennedy Booted From ‘American Idol’ Over Video Featuring KKK-Style Hood

American Idol Season 19 Caleb Kennedy
Eric McCandless/ABC

American Idol has dropped finalist Caleb Kennedy after a video emerged online showing the contestant sitting next to someone wearing a white hood similar to those worn by the Ku Klux Klan.

The South Carolina native had recently earned a spot in the Top 5 of the ABC singing competition. Show judges Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie referred to him as “gifted” and a “true anomaly” in the most recent episode. However, this coming Sunday’s episode, which was set to include a double elimination, will now not include Kennedy.

Luke Bryan's Wife Addresses Rumors of Fight Between 'American Idol' Judge and Contestant Wyatt PikeSee Also

Luke Bryan's Wife Addresses Rumors of Fight Between 'American Idol' Judge and Contestant Wyatt Pike

Some viewers speculated that contestant's show exit stemmed from altercation with the judge.

Sunday’s episode will feature a Top 4 with one contestant elimination.

Kennedy himself took to Instagram to apologize to his fans for letting them down, writing, “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.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Caleb Kennedy (@calebkennedyofficial)

Speaking about the video, which shows Kennedy turn the camera to a friend in a white hood with the eyes cut out, the 16 year old singer explained, “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’s mother, Anita Guy, told the Spartanburg Herald-Journal that the videos were filmed when her son was 12 years old and have been taken out of context. She stated that the clip was a reference to the movie The Strangers: Prey at Night and not the KKK.

“I hate this has happened and how Caleb is being portrayed by people online,” Guy said. “Caleb doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. He loves everyone and has friends of all races.”

'American Idol' Top 7 Celebrate Mother's Day and Take on Coldplay Songbook (RECAP)See Also

'American Idol' Top 7 Celebrate Mother's Day and Take on Coldplay Songbook (RECAP)

The British band's lead singer Chris Martin mentors the 'Idol' hopefuls as the final five is revealed.

Following the announcement of Kennedy’s removal, American Idol has scrubbed all mentions and videos of the singer from its social media channels.

American Idol, Sundays, 8/7c, ABC