American Idol finalist Caleb Kennedy has been cut from Season 19, after a racially insensitive video surfaced online, in which he’s seated opposite someone who appears to be wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood.
The 16-year-old crooner took to Instagram on Wednesday to break the news to his fans.
“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.”
Prior to his elimination, Kennedy had made it into the Top 5 on Idol. The finalists he was competing with on the latest season of the singing competition show included Casey Bishop, Grace Kinstler, Chayce Beckham and Willie Spence.
Kennedy’s isn’t the first controversy to emerge from the show’s 19th season, though. In April, contestant Cecil Ray Baker was arrested for ‘burglary of habitation,’ and was also accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend.
Check out Kennedy’s Instagram announcement below.