American Idol top-five finalist Caleb Kennedy has left the show after a video surfaced showing him next to someone wearing what appears to be a Ku Klux Klan hood, The New York Post reports.
A representative for the show confirmed to the media outlet that Kennedy will no longer be moving forward in the competition.
The 16-year-old singer posted a statement about his departure on Instagram yesterday. His caption read, “An update from me, about American Idol.”
His statement on the social media site read, “Hey y’all, this is gonna be a bit of a surprise but I am no longer gonna be on ‘American Idol,’” he wrote. “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. 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 mother, Anita Guy, gave a statement to MSN claiming that the video was taken when Kennedy was 12-years-old and imitating characters from a horror movie he watched. Guy said, “I hate this has happened and how Caleb is being portrayed by people online. 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.”
On Tuesday, Kennedy had posted a photo of him in a singing booth on Instagram, thanking his fans for support: “Hey guys! So glad to have y’all on the journey with me through #Americanidol. Also really happy to be in the studio working on songs!! I love you guys so much!!”
On the most recent episode this past Sunday, Kennedy performed a rendition of the Coldplay song “Violet Hill,” since the week’s mentor was Coldplay frontman, Chris Martin. The seven contestants were tasked with singing Coldplay songs along with Mother’s Day-inspired songs for the episode. Kennedy sand an original tune named “Mama Said.” The remaining finalists include Willie Spence, Grace Kinstler, Chayce Beckham and Casey Bishop.
American Idol hasn’t yet commented on Kennedy’s departure.