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It’s no secret that The Bachelor franchise has had serious issues with diversity—and that’s well before the Rachael Kirkconnell controversy happened. ABC’s major attempt to correct this lack of diversity seemingly came in the form of casting Rachel Lindsay at their first-ever Black Bachelorette and giving her a mixed group of men to choose from. But behind the scenes, Rachel was having a difficult time because some of the Black men picked to be on the show didn’t even like Black women.
During an appearance on Ziwe Fumudoh’s variety show, Rachel was asked if she ever faced backlash for not ending up with a Black man instead of her fiancé, Bryan Abasolo. “All three of the Black Bachelors and Bachelorettes have ended up with partners who are not of color,” Ziwe said, to which Rachel replied, “It’s something I was worried about before I went on the show…I think I got a little bit more grace because I was the first and people were just excited that a person of color was in this role.”
Rachel added that she soon began to notice a pattern with the Black season leads and the person they typically choose to be with. “I think when the next person chose someone that wasn’t Black, and then by the time we got to the third one it was like ‘you know what they’re just not going to choose anybody that’s Black,'” she said.
Regarding the backlash the show has received for recent events—like Chris Harrison’s behavior when defending Rachael’s Old South photo scandal—Rachel said that speaks to “how unfairly people of color are held to certain standards that their white counterparts aren’t,” and added that it’s “a casting issue.”
Rachel continued and said there was even a moment where the production team incorrectly portrayed a scene where she was crying. “I broke down on camera, and they used my tears for something else, but I was getting upset at the selection of men of color,” she explained. “I also learned as I was going through my season that several of the Black men on my season didn’t date Black women.”
Since Rachel’s interview with Chris Harrison made the rounds back in February, she announced that she’s planning to leave the franchise for good once her contract is up.
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