Caleb Kennedy is leaving American Idol after a controversial social media post surfaced showing him with someone who appears to be wearing Ku Klux Klan hood.
The South Carolina native took to social media on Wednesday (May 12) to issue the following statement regarding the matter and reveal that he is leaving the competition.
“Hey y’all, this is gonna be a bit of a surprise, but I am no longer gonna be on American Idol,” Kennedy’s statement began. “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 went on to say. “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.”
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Caleb Kennedy landed a slot in the Top 5 of the show earlier this week. During the season, he performed songs such as “Midnight Train to Memphis” by Chris Stapleton, “On the Road, Again” by Willie Nelson and even sang a duet with country superstar Jason Aldean.
Earlier this season, Katy Perry referred to the 16-year-old as country music’s next “outlaw.”
“You just have like this grit, this real country,” she said at the time. “You are becoming the outlaw…”
A source close to American Idol told Music Mayhem that contestant Caleb Kennedy “will no longer be moving forward in the competition. Sunday’s episode will feature the Top 4 with one contestant elimination.”
American Idol returns to ABC on Sunday, May 16 at 8/7c.