'Bachelor's Sydney Defends Claims She Experienced Bullying and Racism After Yearbook Photos Surface

By
Sydney Hightower
ABC

Sydney Hightower is speaking out after Monday's episode of The Bachelor

On the most recent episode of the ABC reality series, Hightower went on a one-on-one date with this season's leading man, Peter Weber. During their date, Hightower opened up to Weber, explaining that she had been slow to be vulnerable due to past bullying and racism she's faced.

Hightower told Weber that middle and high school were "the worst years of my life," adding that she ate lunch in the bathroom her entire senior year. Weber responded by telling Hightower he was "so amazed" by her strength.

At the same time, though, a Twitter user took to the social media network to share photos from what appears to be Hightower's high school yearbook. In the pics, Hightower is seen winning a beauty pageant and being picked as an "upperclassmen top beauty."

Hightower shared her DM to the account that posted the yearbook snaps in order to set "the record straight."

"I’ve been through so much from the town I grew up in and will not allow my story, or others to be deminished [sic]," she tweeted in part. "... Not happening."

In the DM, Hightower recounted the bullying she said she faced in high school.

"I did eat my lunch in the bathroom stalls, I did have to wipe 'n***er lover' and 'half breed' and 'monkey nose' off of my car windows and pavement," she wrote in part. "But you will never know those struggles, and that's a blessing."

"Feels ridiculous I even have to address this. But correct I did win a beauty pageant my senior year of high school. That was voted for by 5 judges. Not by my peers," she wrote in another tweet. "Winning a pageant based off of outer beauty does not take away the racial bullying,and isolation I’ve been through."

"I was also on the cheer team in middle school and in many clubs in high school. You’ll do anything you can to fit in, and I tried," she added in a second tweet. "I won pageants because of my 'looks' and I was in clubs because I wanted a scholarship to get into college. Not because I was accepted by my peers."

Hightower continued her tweet storm by writing, "Any one from my high school want to pull out the videos of girls stuffing my locker with Oreo cookies, vandalizing my home, shoving me in the hall ways? Teachers literally referring to me as a halfbreed? Calling my mother the worst names I’ve ever heard in my life? I doubt that."

Hightower also shared screenshots of DMs she's received, one of which read in part, "we don't like unclean, poor, unprivileged, minorities like yourself" and another that called her "the ugliest girl in the house."

"This is extremely vile and the language used in these should never be repeated, I can’t believe human beings even speak this way," she wrote. "But this is the kinda stuff I’ve been through but whole life, and the kind of messages I have to read in the hundreds. Daily. No one deserves this"

Watch the video below for more on Monday's episode of The Bachelor.

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