Motion granted and case dismissed: A producer’s creative control over casting on popular television show, “The Bachelor,” was challenged in a U.S. District Court in Tennessee earlier this year on the basis of racial discrimination (thanks to E! online for a copy of the complaint). The plaintiffs, who had auditioned for the show but didn’t fit within the producer’s vision, sued defendants ABC and Warner Horizon Television, alleging they didn’t get the role because they were African Americans. The basis for their claim was that the defendants violated anti-discrimination laws and the civil rights act, refusing to contract with the plaintiffs because of their race. But a federal judge on Oct. 15 agreed with the defendants’ First Amendment free speech argument and dismissed the lawsuit. ABC and Warner Horizon Television argued that casting decisions are essential to an entertainment show’s creative content and that any forced alteration in the end product would be a content regulation. U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger said: “In this respect, casting and the resulting work of entertainment are inseparable and must both be protected to ensure that the producers’ freedom of speech is not abridged.” Standards of constitutional review for First Amendment matters vary depending upon the type of regulation. Content-based regulations affecting speech face strict scrutiny and rarely pass constitutional muster. This ruling, if appealed and sustained, has novelty in that it deals with the casting process and how it is a creative element of the resulting work. The defendants expressed satisfaction that producers retain creative control to develop content and cast as they see fit. Other courts have given producers of creative content discretion to create and cast according to their vision or to organize a parade and exclude certain groups from the activity. For more on this and the Bachelor discrimination case, you may click here.