Calling Peter Weber's season of The Bachelor a roller coaster would be an understatement. But, even with all the on screen back-stabbing, tattle-telling, arguments, crying and confusion, it turns out that there's been something going on during all of Season 24 that most of Bachelor Nation hasn't been aware of: bullying. During Monday night's Women Tell All special, many of Peter's former girlfriends took time out of their bickering and personal conflicts to address the issue. And Sydney Hightower, for one, wants justice for those affected.
The Women Tell All special gave fans insight into many of the things we've been seeing on screen all season during Peter's time as The Bachelor, with discussions about Kelsey's emotional state, Tammy's unfair judgements, Victoria F.'s possible cheating and many other things coming under the microscope.
But it wasn't until the episode was nearly over that the cast and host Chris Harrison were joined by former Bachelorette star Rachel Lindsay, that things took an even more serious turn. Rachel led a discussion that put a spotlight on how the women of Season 24 have been harassed online, with part of the focus being on the racially charged nature of much of bullying.
Contestant Sydney Hightower, who was eliminated during week six of The Bachelor, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter after the WTA to talk about why the segment, which she said came about after she reached out to Rachel Lindsay about the online hate over her race, was important:
My producers knew that it had gotten extremely bad. And it was mostly targeted toward my race and toward the color of my skin. I look up to Rachel, because she was the first African American Bachelorette. I can only imagine the things that she went through and the hate that she had to go through. So, it was easy for us to connect on that level, and for her to kind of be a rock for me to lean on and to get advice from. Until someone like me, who’s been through these things says something about it, you don't understand it. You can say, 'Don't bully, don't bully.' But when there are messages and you see the women up there and you see the color of our skin and why we're being attacked, that's when it becomes, 'OK, this is real.' What I want to get out of this is just for people to see that, and for people to see that there has to be some justice for the people that do go through this.
When Chris Harrison asked the women how many of them had been victims of online harassment, they all raised their hands, and each of the African American women (including Lindasy, who starred on The Bachelorette in 2017) agreed that the focus of the bullying they receive is usually based on their race, skin color and even their hair. You can take a look at the WTA segment below, but be aware that some of the language used in these online missives might be troubling to some:
Like the rest of the contestants, Sydney Hightower was probably prepared for some amount of online hate once Season 24 began to air, but it sounds like she was unprepared for how bad the bullying would get, especially with regards to her race, something she obviously can't (and likely wouldn't want to) change. But, just as we should all do in any situation when things become a bit too much for us to handle, she was able to reach out to someone who'd been through similar harassment to figure out how to deal with it.
As you can see from the clip, many of the audience members were shocked by some of the messages that have been directed at this season's contestants, which proves that Sydney was correct in thinking that the issue needed to be addressed publicly so that everyone could see what it really means to bully and lash out at someone with hate because of their race.
I wish that Sydney Hightower, Rachel Lindsay and, honestly, all the women who've been subjected to this kind of harassement could get true justice. But, as we know, the reason so many people feel comfortable sending messages like this is because they can hide in the vastness of the internet, and there simply aren't enough resources to track every one of them down and make them face legal action of some kind.
We might all just have to hope that getting called out on The Bachelor Women Tell All will be enough to stop at least some of these people from doing the same to women who will sign up for the franchise in the future. Clare Crawley, for instance (who's getting ready for her turn as The Bachelorette to begin later this month) has already received some hate over the fact that, at 39, she'll be the oldest Bachelorette in franchise history. Here's hoping, truly, that the spotlight on bullying will shut some of the unnecessary hate down in the months to come.
The Bachelor will wrap up next Monday and Tuesday with Peter Weber's unpredictable ending airing at 8 p.m. EST on ABC both nights. That will be followed on April 13 by the new musical spinoff The Bachelor: Listen To Your Heart, and Clare Crawley's Season 16 stint as The Bachelorette sometime in May. For more on what else you can watch right now, check out our 2020 premiere guide.