Former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay is speaking directly to the “Bachelor” franchise about “acknowledging their systemic racism” in a heartfelt essay posted to her blog Monday.
The message, which was published to her website RachelLindsayOfficial.com under the blog section “Honestly Rach,” elaborates on statements Lindsay made last week during a virtual interview for “AfterBuzz” in which she vowed to quit the “Bachelor” franchise if real efforts to solve its diversity problems are not made soon.
“Black people know historically and presently that the show is not formatted for their success,” Lindsay wrote Monday, explaining that she had applied to be on her first season of “The Bachelor” on a whim and later accepted the role of “Bachelorette” — making her the first and only person of color to hold a lead role on the long-running franchise — in order to be a “trailblazer” who might steer the future of the show in a more diverse direction.
“Well, I am sad to say that after almost four years in this franchise, we still don’t have the diversity that this show needs, and that our audience deserves,” she continued.
Reps for The Bachelor, ABC, and Warner Brothers did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment Monday.
Lindsay also pointed out that her vocalness about the show’s lack of diversity is not a new choice spurred by the recent Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, but that she has been urging the show to examine its casting and portrayal of people of color for years.
In 2018, she called out the show for “creating an emotionally charged finale that baited me for three hours and labeled me as an angry black female,” she wrote. And the following year, when the franchise chose Peter Weber as the next Bachelor over Mike Johnson — a black man and fan-favorite also from Hannah Brown’s season — she made a statement saying, “when you have a contestant like Mike Johnson, who seems to check all the boxes, how is he not the Bachelor… the system isn’t working in giving us a Bachelor who is a person of color. So we need to change the system.”
She also exposed the franchise for admitting that it has chosen not to cast a black lead after her season due to ratings, and urged the franchise to “make a statement acknowledging their systemic racism.”
“The creator of the show admitted that my season’s lower ratings ‘revealed something about our fans’ and furthermore concluded that it was ‘incredibly disturbing in a Trumpish kind of way,'” she wrote. “Another representative of the franchise stated that he wants to see more diversity in the show but ‘it’s also irresponsible to walk into something and have rose-colored glasses… [the franchise] needs to put on people that others want to watch.'”
Lindsay ended her essay with a call to action, citing the NFL as an example of a long-running franchise that had successfully acknowledged its past mistakes.
“If the National Football League, an organization notoriously known for not standing behind their athletes of color, can come out to make a statement to condemn racism and their systemic oppression and admit they were wrong for not listening in the past,” she wrote, “then the Bachelor franchise can most certainly follow suit.”
The franchise has not yet announced who its next Bachelor will be, and production on Clare Crawley’s season of “The Bachelorette” has been postponed due to the coronavirus.
“The Bachelor: Greatest Seasons – Ever!” currently airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.