Rachel Lindsay Calls for 'Bachelor' Franchise to Acknowledge Systemic Racism, Diversify Leads and Producers

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Rachel Lindsay wants the Bachelor franchise to make a real change. 

The former Bachelorette -- who remains the franchise's only black lead to date -- took to her blog on Monday to address her recent comments that she would cut ties with The Bachelor if they didn't overhaul their approach to diversity and representation. 

Lindsay explained the thought process behind her decision, called for the Bachelor franchise to "make a statement acknowledging their systemic racism," cast leads that are interested in dating outside of their race, and diversify producers on the show, amid other suggestions. ET has reached out to Warner Bros. and ABC for comment. 

"I ultimately decided to be the Bachelorette because I knew this opportunity was bigger than me. I knew that I wanted to present myself to an audience that had not seen a lead of color in this role. I knew that I wanted to be a trailblazer in this franchise to diversify the lead role, to diversify the contestants trying out and casted for the show, and to diversify the audience watching this show. Well, I am sad to say that after almost four years in this franchise, we still don’t have the diversity that this show needs, and that our audience deserves," Lindsay wrote. 

The attorney noted that "more diverse contestants do appear on the show now," but questioned whether leads are truly interested in dating outside of their race. (The Bachelor has only featured two non-white leads: 2014's Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis is Venezuelan and 2020's Bachelor Peter Weber is half-Cuban.) 

"It is a naive expectation to believe that leads will authentically start an interracial relationship for the first time on national television," Lindsay said. "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 noted that she's always been vocal about the "problematic behavior of the franchise" and wanted to push for change from within it. She pointed out several examples of how she's tried to check the show, including speaking out against the formatting of her three-hour finale, which "baited" her and "labeled me as an angry black female." 

"Although I have been vocal on many issues, 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. I am affiliated with this franchise and to be silent on some matters is to still be complicit with these cycles of detrimental conduct," Lindsay stated. "If you saw your brother or sister continually doing something wrong would you not hold them accountable? This is the reason that 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. 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."

Lindsay called for the following changes: "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 to rectify the problem; 3. Diversify the producers on the show to make your contestants of color feel more comfortable; and 4. Stop creating problematic story lines for people of color." 

"Lastly, and maybe the most important action item, the franchise should 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,'" Lindsay wrote, citing Mike Fleiss' comments to The New York Times in 2018. 

Lindsay also cited comments Chris Harrison had made in the past about wanting to see more diversity in the franchise, but admitting they showcase "people that others want to watch" because "that is what's going to sell." 

"This is the franchise recognizing that they have an audience that does not favorably respond to people of color on the show. This is the franchise blatantly recognizing and admitting that they are perpetuating the problem. They are willing to accept this reality to attract an audience with specific desires in an effort to not lose viewers," Lindsay wrote. 
 
"Only time will tell how the franchise will respond, but to date they have been silent. Until then, make sure you tune in on Mondays for all the white reasons to watch The Bachelor: Greatest Seasons Ever as it will weekly highlight the very thing that is wrong with this franchise," she concluded. 

See more on Lindsay in the video below. 

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