‘The Bachelorette’ Racism Flap Exposes Need to ‘Strengthen Our Process of Vetting,’ ABC Says

TCA 2017: “Not everything is apparent right from the beginning,” Channing Dungey says of casting Rachel Lindsay’s potential partners

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ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey acknowledges a gaffe in how “The Bachelorette” contestants were picked for Rachel Lindsay, the franchise’s first African-American lead.

The long-running dating show’s 13th season included drama centered around contestant Lee Garrett, a Nashville-based songwriter who caught flak for his racially charged tweets and reference to black cast members Eric Bigger and Kenny King as “aggressive.”

Dungey told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour on Sunday that she doesn’t believe that the show used racism as entertainment, saying she doesn’t “have any regrets” about how those scenes were presented. But she does think that the choice of Garrett as a contestant reflects a flaw in how the cast is chosen.

“I think there were certain elements to Lee — we go through a very complicated vetting process to determine the contestants,” she said. “Not everything is apparent right from the beginning, and that’s just one of the things we have to look at as we continue to move forward in the future, to maybe continue to strengthen our process of vetting.”

“But there was no sense on our end that we were trying to sensationalize that in any way,” she continued.

“The Bachelorette” airs its Season 13 finale on Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.