“American Idol” finalist Caleb Kennedy is leaving the show after video surfaced that showed him sitting next to a friend who was wearing a white Ku Klux Klan-style hood.
The 16-year-old country singer and Roebuck, South Carolina, native was one of the final five contestants on the ABC show.
“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,” Kennedy said in a statement. “I wanna say sorry to all my fans and everyone who I have let down.”
The three-second Snapchat clip simply shows Kennedy sitting next to a friend, who is wearing a white hood and white T-shirt.
Kennedy’s mother, Anita Guy, told the Spartanburg Herald-Journal that Kennedy was 12 years old when the video was recorded.
Guy claimed the boys had recently watched the 2018 film “The Strangers: Prey at Night” and the hood was being used to portray a character in the film.
She suggested to The Columbia State that someone at Kennedy’s high school was jealous of his success and began circulating the video.
“I’ll be taking a little time off social media to better myself,” Kennedy said his statement, “but saying that, I know this has hurt and disappointed a lot of people and made people lose respect for me.”
“American Idol” will continue with its final four contestants, with one set to be eliminated Sunday.