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The Bachelorette alum Rachel Lindsay has taken the lead in speaking out about racism and ABC’s lack of diversity regarding The Bachelor and its spinoff shows (collectively known as Bachelor Nation). Not long after Lindsay openly discussed being embarrassed to be affiliated with the franchise over its lack of inclusion, it was announced that The Bachelor had cast its first Black lead. However, Lindsay recently revealed exactly why she “hated the timing” of The Bachelor’s casting.
Based on what we've seen from past seasons, The Bachelor’s track record with diversity hasn’t been that strong. It’s been 40 seasons (including The Bachelor and The Bachelorette) with only one Black lead and that’s Rachel Lindsay. So when ABC cast Matt James as the first Black Bachelor, Lindsay believed it to be a knee-jerk reaction in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and worldwide protests following the death of George Floyd. The former Bachelorette has now shared her thoughts on James’ casting and her remaining disappointment with ABC. Here’s what she said:
I'm excited that there's a Black Bachelor. But I hated the timing of it because it does seem like a reaction to what is 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 that they're going to vow to take the necessary changes to bring diversity internally and to more contestants of color on the show.
Rachel Lindsay definitely didn't hold back during her appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. The casting of Matt James also happened after so many studios began issuing statements about being against racism and standing in solidarity with the Black community. However, change usually starts from within and the statements themselves don’t actually erase the studios’ past history with the lack of inclusion on screen.
This is why Rachel Lindsay believes the folks at ABC should openly take responsibility for being “a part of the problem” in the past and that change should not end with casting a Black lead but should also include having “diversity internally.”
This isn't the first time Lindsay has spoken out on the subject of diversity within the franchise. Earlier this year, Rachel Lindsay appeared on The Bachelor’s Women Tell All episode and brought attention to the fact that the lack of diversity in Bachelor Nation helped pave the way for racially motivated bullying. Lindsay even spoke with Hannah Brown, who is also a former Bachelorette, after she used a racial slur and didn’t take responsibility for it after being called out.
The Bachelor’s executive producers released a statement vowing to “expand diversity” in the cast and in the show’s staff. Whether or not these changes will be significant remains to be seen. Either way, it's great that Rachel Lindsay continues to use her platform to call attention to racism and how it intersects with Bachelor Nation.
ABC is currently airing The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons - Ever! every Monday night at 8:00 p.m. ET. For more on what to watch, be sure to check out our 2020 summer TV premiere schedule.