‘Bachelorette’ Star Rachel Lindsay Demands End to ‘Racism’ on Franchise

Rachel Lindsay at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards (Credit: Deposit Photos)

Bachelorette alum Rachel Lindsay is vowing to “disassociate” herself from the hit ABC franchise if it doesn’t incorporate more diversity into its casting.

With protests sweeping the nation demanding an end to racial injustice, Lindsay wrote a lengthy blog post Tuesday calling for The Bachelor franchise to address “systemic racism.” She penned the post after speaking out in recent interviews about being the only black lead in franchise history.

“Recently, I have received many questions regarding the headlines stating that I will leave the Bachelor franchise if changes to address the lack of diversity in lead roles are not established,” she wrote, adding that she would like to “provide some context and fully explain.”

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The attorney appeared on season 21 of The Bachelor in 2017, and was the first African American lead on its spinoff, The Bachelorette. She currently lives in Miami with husband Bryan Abasolo, whom she met on season 13 of The Bachelorette.

Last week she told the AfterBuzz TV digital network that she now finds it “embarrassing to be affiliated with” the franchise due to its mostly white casting.

“Yes, more diverse contestants do appear on the show now, but is the lead truly interested and open to dating outside of their race? I think that is evident by how far their ‘journey’ takes them during each season,” wrote Lindsay. “It is a naive expectation to believe that leads will authentically start an interracial relationship for the first time on national television. The sad reality is that people of color become placeholders as the token person of color to add some flavor to the second half of the season.”

Lindsay added that she’s called out the franchise numerous times, but nothing has changed.

“I still feel that I have not been loud enough on the deep-rooted, 18-year systemic problems in this franchise. You never want to bite the hand that feeds you, but you also do not want to be aiding and abetting problematic behavior,” she wrote. “I am affiliated with this franchise and to be silent on some matters is to still be complicit with these cycles of detrimental conduct. If you saw your brother or sister continually doing something wrong would you not hold them accountable?”

She urged show producers to “make a statement acknowledging their systemic racism.”

“The system is not designed for people of color. This is not a shocking or groundbreaking statement when the creator of the show admitted that my season’s lower ratings ‘revealed something about our fans’ and furthermore concluded that it was ‘incredibly disturbing in a Trumpish kind of way,'” she wrote about the backlash from white fans over having a black lead on The Bachelorette.

She said if the franchise doesn’t incorporate more diversity among show participants, and take steps to bring in more black viewers, she will separate herself from the Bachelor Nation.

“If changes are not made on the inside and outside of the franchise, I will dissociate myself from it,” she continued. “I am tired of asking for change and my requests have been ineffective. These changes have to extend beyond casting a lead of color. The whole franchise needs a diversity makeover.”

Among her proposed solutions:
1. Cast leads that are truly interested in dating outside of their race
2. Stop making excuses for the lack of diversity and take action
3. Diversify the producers on the show
4. Stop creating problematic story lines for people of color