The past month has been an especially fraught one for fans of The Bachelor and the other shows which make up the long-running franchise. While there had been rumors online for weeks about the racially insensitive past of a current contestant, once new evidence came to light it set off a firestorm, which included former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay interviewing host / executive producer Chris Harrison, and him stepping down after angering many with what he said. Since that interview, Lindsay has dealt with a barrage of harassment online, and now the producers of The Bachelor have spoken out against the "completely inexcusable" activity.
It's incredibly likely that even if you've never watched The Bachelor, The Bachelorette or Bachelor in Paradise that you've still heard about what's been happening in Bachelor Nation recently. Contestant Rachael Kirkconnell (who is currently very close to nabbing the heart of the first black Bachelor, Matt James, on Season 25) has been shown to have a recent past of documented racial insensitivity, which is what led to Chris Harrison's words during his interview with Rachel Lindsay. Once he stepped down, though, several in Bachelor Nation came out in force to tear down Rachel for doing the interview and condemning his words, and now the producers have spoken out against the harassment, saying on Twitter:
As Executive Producers of The Bachelor Franchise we would like to make it perfectly clear that any harassment directed towards Rachel Lindsay in the aftermath of her interview with Chris Harrison is completely inexcusable. Rachel has received an unimaginable amount of hate and has been subjected to severe online bullying, which, more often than not, has been rooted in racism. That is totally unacceptable. Rachel has been an incredible advocate for our cast, and we are grateful that she has worked tirelessly toward racial equity and inclusion.
I don't know if you can tell, but Bachelor Nation is in shambles, and all because some fans and members of the franchise (like Rachel Lindsay) have been trying very hard to make sure that the shows finally become more inclusive. As we've seen with Matt's season, the answer isn't as simple as having a black lead and more people of color on the shows, because if it were, we wouldn't be in the middle of such a racially motivated shit storm.
There have been a lot of fans of the franchise who've taken up a public defense of Chris Harrison, what he said during his interview with Rachel, and shown their desire to see him return to host sooner rather than later. And, unfortunately, these fans have decided that him stepping down is Rachel's fault, and have taken the loss of Harrison as a wonderful excuse to abuse Rachel online. On her most recent Higher Learning podcast, she revealed that she had to delete her Instagram account, saying:
I woke up, looked at my phone, one of the first things I saw [was] something negative and I said, 'You know what? Not today. Not even this weekend,' and currently still not now, because I'm still disabled. It was the best decision that I could do for myself to detach from that negativity. I needed that. I feel so much better. I'm not 100 percent, but I feel lighter.
Obviously, the fact that anyone ever has to come out and say that they're against racist bullying is simply insane. But, this is happening because, as people who've been following the franchise will know, racism, bullying and online harassment have been huge problems in the franchise for many years. Those behind the franchise only recently started to speak out against such behavior, as the producers have increasingly come under fire for dismissing the importance of diversity behind the scenes and on-screen.
All fans can really hope for is that incidents like this, and the producers coming forward to support Rachel Lindsay, is a sign that positive changes really are on the horizon now.