'Bachelorette' Alum Kenny King Praises Rachel Lindsay and Compares Franchise to America (Exclusive)

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Kenny King is sharing his support for Rachel Lindsay. The former Bachelorette contestant opened up to ET and weighed in on the controversies rocking Bachelor Nation.

"I had nothing but the utmost respect for Rachel. I thought many times about what it must have been like for Rachel, what she must have went through, being the very first Black Bachelorette," King told ET's Denny Directo and Melicia Johnson.

King -- who competed as a suitor during Lindsay's season -- praised her for facing the pressures put on her by fans and the nature of the show, and how she still managed to "be who she was."

"Still be genuine. Still be thoroughly Rachel. Still stand on her square and her morals and find who she wanted to love despite, I'm sure, the pressure that she felt that she had to find a Black man on that show," King said. "She stood with, you know, who she wanted to be with... and I have nothing but respect for her for that."

The Bachelor franchise has been rocked by scandal and public outcry in recent weeks after host Chris Harrison faced criticism for defending Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell's past racist actions during an interview with Lindsay.

Both Harrison and Kirkconnell have since apologized, with the host announcing that he's "stepping aside" from the franchise "for a period of time."

After Harrison's exit, Lindsay disabled her Instagram account because some fans were harassing her with hurtful messages and racist rants, blaming her for the backlash against Harrison. On Monday evening, the executive producers of the series released a statement against the online harassment Lindsay has received, although it did not address the overarching controversy facing the show itself.

"The executive producer statement is great but it's one of those things I feel like Rachel has never really gotten her just do as far as a Bachelorette," King shared, adding that he doesn't feel any negativity toward Lindsay is justified in any way.

"Rachel didn't do anything. Rachel just conducted an interview and allowed, you know, someone to more or less tell on themselves," King said. "So, you know, it is unfortunate that she has received the amount of negative reaction to feel like you have to deactivate Instagram."

For King, the Bachelor Nation and the franchise are somewhat representative of the show's audience and can serve as an analogy for the actual nation.

"You can look at the Bachelor Nation almost like a microcosm of the United States," he explained. "We have strides made in [ways] and lots of great things have happened, but in the end, we still have lots more to go."

For more on the Bachelor franchise's ongoing controversies, see the video below.

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