Earlier this year, during Peter Weber's season of The Bachelor, Rachel Lindsay appeared on the Women Tell All episode to shine a light on the bullying that many of the women who are part of the franchise have been subjected to, particularly on that most recent season. Unfortunately, as with many segments of society as a whole, Bachelor Nation is not a place which is totally accepting of diversity, so much of this bullying was racially motivated. Now, Rachel is speaking out about the franchise, and talking about why, especially at this troubling time, she's embarrassed to be a part of it.
As the only non-white lead that The Bachelor franchise has seen in 40 total seasons (when you include all seasons of The Bachelorette) across almost 20 years, Rachel Lindsay has recently been doing a lot of leg work to try and educate people who've appeared in the franchise, as well as fans and those behind the scenes, on how that lack of diversity has allowed racism continued inroads in society as a whole.
Fans will likely remember that it was just a couple of weeks ago that she spoke with fellow former lead Hannah Brown about using a racial slur on camera, and then not taking full responsibility for it, which led to a more sincere apology from Hannah. Well, Rachel Lindsay was on the AfterBuzz TV Bachelor A.M. show recently, and after discussing the incident with Hannah, she was asked if she believes that the producers of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette will do anything to step up in a real way, and start casting non-white leads on a regular basis. Here's what Rachel had to say:
I don’t know how you’re a part of the Bachelor franchise and you’re watching what’s happening in our country right now, and you don’t self-reflect that you’re a part of the problem as you continue to perpetuate this type of behavior. When you’re putting out something that is very whitewashed and doesn’t have any type of color in it, and you’re not trying to be effective and change that. So I think that they have to, at this point, give us a black Bachelor for Season 25. You have to; I don’t know how you don’t. And it’s been asked of me, ‘Will I continue with this franchise if it continues in this way?’ I can’t. I have to see some type of change. It’s ridiculous. It’s embarrassing. At this point, it’s embarrassing to be affiliated with it.
I have to tell you, I think Rachel Lindsay is absolutely right. Like many fans in Bachelor Nation, I was very disappointed when Mike Johnson, who had been on Hannah Brown's Bachelorette season in 2019, wasn't chosen to lead The Bachelor for Season 24 this year, and it instead went to another white guy. Mike had everything a fan could hope for in a Bachelor, and he also had a lot of actual audience support for the gig, along with sounding very open to the opportunity to be the first black male lead in franchise history, but the producers made the safe choice, yet again, and went with Peter.
What Rachel Lindsay is saying now is that the time is over for these safe choices, because all they do (even in something as fluffy and basically meaningless as The Bachelor) is allow prejudice and racism to keep hold over society. If content creators on the scale of The Bachelor producers don't step up to make changes, and make those changes faster than having the franchise on the air for 15 years and 34 total seasons (Rachel was The Bachelorette in 2017), very little will change overall.
As she said during her interview, Rachel now finds her association with all things The Bachelor "embarrassing" because of the "ridiculous" nature of its unwillingness to change. For her to continue with the franchise, she wants to see on-camera changes, and that makes total sense. Bachelor franchise host Chris Harrison has spoken before about why the show is taking so long to change, and while he didn't directly say money was the reason, that was the answer, because he noted that "we have to stay on the air" to make any efforts count.
While Rachel admitted that her season was one of the lowest rated of the franchise, that to her is extra reason to step up and have more non-white leads, so that the scope of the show and its audience are broadened in positive ways. The question now becomes whether or not the franchise will take heed and do something. To that point, Rachel had a comparison to make:
Do I expect the franchise to do anything? I think the pressure is so great and I hate that it had to get to this. I think the pressure is so great right now, I gave this comparison on my friend Juliet’s podcast ‘Bachelor Party.’ I said, ‘They have casted at this point for 40 seasons.’ Even though Clare’s hasn’t started yet, it’s casted. You’ve casted for 40 seasons and in 40 seasons you’ve had one black lead. We are on 45 presidents and in 45 presidents we’ve had one black president. You are almost on par to say you’re more likely to become the President of the United States than you are a black lead in this franchise. That’s insane. That’s ridiculous.
Truer words about The Bachelor have never been spoken. Here's hoping that Rachel Lindsay's words have some real impact on both the franchise and the massive audience, and that even if we do (hopefully) see a non-white lead in Season 25 of The Bachelor next year, that it won't be in an effort to appease but a sign of real change that will continue as they cast subsequent seasons, with the leads and casts for those seasons being far more diverse than they have been until now.
As Rachel said, Clare Crawley's Season 16 of The Bachelorette is currently on hold, but the hope is that we'll get to see it later this year, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest. In the meantime, The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons -- Ever! retrospective show begins tonight, June 8, at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.