Speaking out. Improving diversity on television remains an ongoing issue — especially when TV reflects reality.
Rachel Lindsay has long been vocal about the lack of diverse leads and contenders featured within The Bachelor franchise. After competing for Nick Viall’s heart on season 21 in 2017, she became the first Black woman to lead The Bachelorette.
In June 2020, the former attorney slammed Bachelor Nation for continuously failing to make casting choices that are representative of society. “In 40 seasons [The Bachelor] had one Black lead,” she previously told AfterBuzz TV. “We are on 45 presidents. And in 45 presidents there’s been one Black president. You are almost on par to say you’re more likely to become the President of the United States than you are a Black lead in this franchise. That’s insane. That’s ridiculous.”
Lindsay also threatened to disassociate from Bachelor Nation, adding, “I can’t. I have to see some type of change. It’s ridiculous. It’s embarrassing. At this point, it’s embarrassing to be affiliated with it.”
Like Lindsay, fellow Bachelor Nation star Mike Johnson has condemned the franchise’s “atrocious” casting efforts for not being more diverse. “There have been numerous, wonderful Black and indigenous people of color that could have been cast in the lead roles, and for the franchise to not to do that, it’s just terrible,” the Air Force vet, who previously appeared on The Bachelorette’s 15th season, told Variety in August 2020. “It should not have taken an outcry from the fans, who I absolutely adore — that was a clear sign that there is power in numbers, so I love the fans who signed petitions and things like that, but it shouldn’t have taken that.”
Johnson also advocated for more diversity behind-the-scenes. “I hope that they do listen. And I hope that it’s not just the leads and contestants, but people in charge should also be diverse, as well,” he added.
Vanderpump Rules alum Faith Stowers, for her part, spoke out about her experience being the only person of color on the Bravo series. “I did a show with an all-white cast,” she said via Instagram Live in June 2020. “I was the only Black person on the show. It was a lot.”