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Former “Bachelorette,” Rachel Lindsay has shared that there were times that she felt “exploited” during her season of the show.
In a new op-ed for New York Magazine, she says she removed herself from the “Bachelor Happy Hour” podcast last month after being “exhausted from defending myself against a toxic fandom.”
Lindsay also says that the bar was also set much higher for her, as she was the first ever Black Bachelorette.
“I couldn’t be like the Bachelorettes who had come before — somebody who was still living at home with her parents, who had “pageant queen” on her résumé,” she shared. “I was a lawyer. My father was a federal judge. I had a squeaky-clean record. I had to be a good Black girl, an exceptional Black girl. I had to be someone the viewer could accept.”
But the franchise has been the subject matter of negative headlines this year after longtime host Chris Harrison defended a contestant’s racist past on her show.
“The franchise has spent 19 years cultivating a toxic audience. They have constantly given it a product it wants: a midwestern/southern white, blonde, light-eyed Christian. Not all viewers are like that,” she wrote in the article. “My Higher Learning co-host and I have divided it – there is a Bachelor Nation, and there is a Bachelor Klan.”
Harrison defended Rachael Kirkconnell, who is white, after pictures of her taken at an antebellum party in 2018 surfaced on the internet. He asserted that the photographs were only a problem in 2021 — but were not an issue back then.
“Is it a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021, because there’s a big difference. I don’t disagree with you. You’re 100 percent right in 2021. That was not the case in 2018. I’m not defending Rachael—I just know that 50 million people who did that in 2018. That was a type of party that a lot of people went to,” he said in February.
“My guess? These girls got dressed and went to a party and had a great time. They were 18 years old. Does that make it okay? I don’t know, Rachel, you tell me…but where is this lens we’re holding up and was that lens available and were we all looking through it in 2018?”
Lindsay called Harrison out for his weak defense, and after he was forced to exit the show, Lindsay became a target for his loyal supporters.
“Bachelor Klan is hateful, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and homophobic. They are afraid of change. They are afraid to be uncomfortable. They are afraid when they get called out.”