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Caleb Kennedy, 16, exits American Idol after clip next to person in apparent KKK hood surfaces


‘I was younger and didn’t think about my actions’: American Idol finalist, 16, pulls out of competition after video emerges of him next to someone wearing a KKK mask when he was 12

Caleb Kennedy has withdrawn from American Idol amid racist scandal, as he was seen in a social media clip seated next to a person wearing an apparent Ku Klux Klan hood.

The country singer, 16, who made the finals of the show, took to Instagram Wednesday to announce his exit from the ABC series.

‘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.’

The Spartanburg, South Carolina native said of the video: 'I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that¿s not an excuse.'

The latest: Caleb Kennedy, 16, has withdrawn from American Idol amid racist scandal, as he was seen in a social media clip seated next to a person wearing an apparent Ku Klux Klan hood 

The Spartanburg, South Carolina native said of the video: ‘I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that’s not an excuse.’

Kennedy apologized for the sequence of events and said he hoped to redeem his reputation moving forward.

‘I wanna say sorry to all my fans and everyone who I have let down,’ he said. ‘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 was seen in a social media clip seated next to a person wearing an apparent Ku Klux Klan hood

Kennedy was seen in a social media clip seated next to a person wearing an apparent Ku Klux Klan hood 

The country singer took to Instagram Wednesday to announce his exit from the ABC series

The country singer took to Instagram Wednesday to announce his exit from the ABC series 

Kennedy, on Sunday's show, performed the Chris Stapleton cover Midnight Train to Memphis

Kennedy, on Sunday’s show, performed the Chris Stapleton cover Midnight Train to Memphis 

According to the Herald-Journal, Kennedy’s relatives said the Snapchat video in question was taken four years ago when he was 12. 

His mother Anita Guy told the paper, ‘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.’

Moving forward: Sources told TMZ that Sunday's episode of the musical competition will be a top four showdown, with one contestant to be eliminated

Moving forward: Sources told TMZ that Sunday’s episode of the musical competition will be a top four showdown, with one contestant to be eliminated

Kennedy was lauded by judge Katy Perry after auditioning with his song Nowhere. On Sunday’s show, performed the Chris Stapleton cover Midnight Train to Memphis.

Sources told TMZ that Sunday’s episode of the musical competition will be a top four showdown, with one contestant to be eliminated. 

Chayce Beckham, Casey Bishop, Grace Kinstler and Willie Spence remain in the show’s 19th season.

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