Rachel Lindsay simply isn’t going to let ABC get away with doing the bare minimum when it comes to fostering diversity on The Bachelor.
As you’re likely aware, Matt James was recently named as the franchise’s first Black male lead following widespread outcry to cast more diverse talent moving forward. While Lindsay is “excited that there’s a black Bachelor,” she “hated the timing” of his casting, especially in light of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The 35-year-old former Bachelorette appeared on Andy Cohen‘s Watch What Happens Live on Wednesday and lamented over the decision in relation to George Floyd‘s tragic death late last month:
“It does seem like a reaction to what’s happening in our country. Did a man have to die in such a public way, on a national stage, for you to say, ‘Now is the time for us to have a black Bachelor‘? That’s what I hate. It’s taking away from this moment.”
“What I wanted was some acknowledgment and some recognition that they’ve been wrong and part of the problem and they’re going to vow to make the necessary changes to bring diversity internally and to more contestants of color on the show.”
For the record, ABC’s Senior VP of Alternative Series Programming Rob Mills did speak out on this exact criticism, acknowledging the network should’ve done better by now, James’ casting wasn’t intended to be a “cure-all,” and that there will be a commitment to showcasing people of color moving forward. As we touched on earlier, Rachel clearly intends to hold them to that promise!
Speaking of accountability, Lindsay also noted that since saying she’d exit the “white-washed” franchise if they didn’t diversify, she has heard from the producers of the show. She divulged:
“They told me that they heard me and that they’re wanting to do more and make changes. And they actually did release a statement after they announced him saying that they’ve been on the wrong side of this and they’re vowing to make changes internally and to have more contestants of color.”
Don’t worry, gurl, we’ll be keeping a close eye on that claim as well!
Rachel has been more outspoken than most on this particular subject, but can you really blame her? Fans might recall the s**t show that occurred on her season as the first Black Bachelorette back in 2017. She told Cohen about the disgusting racist attacks she was subjected to by some viewers:
“From the audience. I definitely experienced it. More so when it came to picking the men, and then at the end, my husband is Colombian, so I got a lot of racism towards the fact that we were in an interracial relationship. Just a lot of nasty messages, trolling.”
A former contestant on her season was also outed as a bonafide racist midway through filming and she’s fighting to ensure the casting department actually does their due diligence in vetting potential suitors in the future:
“Which is one of the things that I’m fighting for for Matt James as the first black Bachelor, for them to do a better job at vetting contestants. You need a person of color in the decision room making decisions so that doesn’t happen to them.”
While she didn’t name drop him, diehard fans of the reality TV show know it’s highly likely she’s referring to Lee Garrett, whose racism, sexism, and more controversial opinions were unearthed in old tweets. It was an absolute shame she had to deal with that on her journey to find love — let’s not make the same mistake twice, please!
Hear directly from the woman herself in the clips (below):
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