American Idol contestant Caleb Kennedy is exiting the ABC competition following backlash from an offensive video.
The singer, 16, announced on Wednesday, May 12, that he will leave the show after a video surfaced online that allegedly showed him next to someone in a white hood reminiscent of those worn by the Ku Klux Klan. (E! News has not verified the authenticity of the video.)
“Hey y’all, this is gonna be a bit of a surprise, but I am no longer gonna be on American Idol,” Kennedy shared in a statement on Instagram. “There was a video that surfaced on the internet and it displayed actions that were not meant to be taken in that way.”
He explained, “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.”
Kennedy said he’s taking time away from social media to “better myself.” He went on, “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.”