Former Bachelorette star Rachel Lindsay is making headlines for declaring she’ll quit the franchise if it doesn’t address its lack of diversity — and now she’s explaining her stance.
In a blog post on her personal website on Monday, Lindsay — who vied for Nick Viall’s heart on Season 21 of The Bachelor before becoming the first African American Bachelorette in franchise history — began by saying being on The Bachelor “was a fun and fulfilling experience” and that she agreed to be the Bachelorette because “I wanted to be a trailblazer in this franchise to diversify the lead role.” But nearly four years later, she says, “we still don’t have the diversity that this show needs, and that our audience deserves.” (TVLine has reached out to ABC for a response to Lindsay’s comments.)
She added that on The Bachelor, “people of color become placeholders as the token person of color to add some flavor” to their seasons, and she also took herself to task for not speaking up enough: “I have not been loud enough on the deep-rooted, 18-year systemic problems in this franchise… I have come to the conclusion that if changes are not made on the inside and outside of the franchise, I will dissociate myself from it.”
Lindsay calls on the franchise to “cast leads that are truly interested in dating outside of their race,” take action to rectify the lack of diversity, hire more diverse producers “to make your contestants of color feel more comfortable,” stop creating “problematic storylines” for people of color and make a statement acknowledging the franchise’s systemic racism. To back up that last charge, Lindsay cites a number of quotes from producers and executives, including Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss admitting that the lower ratings for Lindsay’s Bachelorette season “revealed something about our fans.”
After pointing out that if the NFL can apologize for past mistakes, “the Bachelor franchise can most certainly follow suit,” Lindsay concluded by saying the upcoming best-of series The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons — Ever! “will weekly highlight the very thing that is wrong with this franchise.”