American Idol Contestant Caleb Kennedy Exits Show After Controversial Video Surfaces

·2 min read

American Idol contestant Caleb Kennedy has exited the singing competition.

A source close to the show tells PEOPLE on Wednesday, "American Idol contestant Caleb Kennedy will no longer be moving forward in the competition. Sunday's episode will feature the Top 4 with one contestant elimination."

Kennedy's departure comes after a controversial video featuring the South Carolina native surfaced online, in which he can be seen hanging out with a friend wearing a white hood similar to the ones worn by Ku Klux Klan members.

In a statement shared to his Instagram, Kennedy — who was one of the final five contestants on the current season of Idol — addressed the video, saying that it "displayed actions that were not meant to be taken in that way."

Matt Stroshane/abc Caleb Kennedy

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"I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that's not an excuse," he said. "I wanna say sorry to all my fans and everyone who I let down."

Kennedy, 16, also said that he will "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.

Christopher Willard/abc Caleb Kennedy

"I'm so sorry!" Kennedy added. "I pray that I can one day regain your trust in who I am and have your respect! Thank you for supporting me."

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According to Kennedy's mother, Anita Guy, the video was taken when he was 12 years old.

"I hate this has happened and how Caleb is being portrayed by people online," Guy told the Herald-Journal. "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," she said. "He loves everyone and has friends of all races."

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

Campaign Zero works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

ColorofChange.org tries to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.

National Cares Mentoring Movement provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.