Surprise! The 'Bachelor' Franchise Has A Racism Problem

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Surprise! The 'Bachelor' Franchise Has A Racism Problem
Photo:Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

In news that shocks approximately zero people, the Bachelor franchise is not so great at protecting their Black leads. During an interview on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen on Wednesday, former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay spoke about her experience as the first Black lead of a show in the Bachelor franchise.

“I did have a racist contestant on my season,” Lindsay, 35, told host Andy Cohen, but did not want to reveal who she was referring to. She noted that producers “didn’t do a good job of vetting out” the man, but hopes that things change.

Despite watching the entirety of Lindsay’s Bachelorette season, I’ve blocked most of it from my mind because the show’s repeated failures to effectively respond to racism ranged from uncomfortable to downright harmful. The negligence began before the show even began. While Lindsay’s season was airing, it leaked that Lee, one of the contestants, had a number of racist tweets—something that became unsurprising upon seeing Lee’s behavior towards both Lindsay herself and Kenny, a Black male contestant. Do they even bother to do basic vetting of these people?

It’s unclear if Lindsay is talking about Lee or another contestant, but let’s be real—who would be shocked if there was (at least) one more racist contestant on her season? Certainly not I.

“[It’s] 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,” the lawyer stated. “You need a person of color in the decision room making decisions so that doesn’t happen to them.”

What an incredibly reasonable request. I can only imagine how traumatic it was for Lindsay to have to deal with regular microaggressions from overtly racist contestants who were kept on the show for the sake of creating drama. It’s clear that the producers barely gave a thought of the harm that it could cause to ask a Black woman to establish intimacy with a racist.

After last week’s announcement that Matt James would be the first Black man to helm the Bachelor itself, Rachel Lindsay spoke about her own frustration with the lack of growth in how the franchise handles its contestants of color since her season.

“I was hoping when I came on to be a trailblazer for that and to increase diversity in the audience that watches it. But in the last three years, there really haven’t been changes made,” the reality TV personality said on Good Morning America. “I want producers of color. I’d like for them to cast leads that are interested in dating outside of their race that aren’t just getting their first-time experience — for the first time — on national TV.”

While it would be unrealistically optimistic to pretend that the Bachelor franchise will ever be a bastion of racial awareness, it is more than reasonable to ask the producers to not put leads of color in a situation where they have to entertain overtly racist contestants. But will things actually be different this season? I’m as skeptical as Rachel. [Us]

On Thursday, Raven-Symoné announced on Instagram that she had gotten married to her partner Miranda Maday in a small backyard ceremony. The couple also got matching ring finger tattoos that appear to combine their initials “R” and “M”. The news came as a surprise to many of Raven-Symoné’s fans, as the relationship had been kept private until this point. Congratulations Raven (and I love the bridal braids)! [Us Magazine]

  • Rosario Dawson is moving to Newark. [Page Six]
  • Baby Kulture made her first appearance on the red carpet. [E!]
  • Tiffany Haddish has an…. interesting idea on how to solve racism. [Page Six]
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