“We are excited to move forward with both Matt James as the new Bachelor and Clare Crawley as our next Bachelorette,” the executive producers said in a statement via BachelorNation.com on Friday, June 12. “We acknowledge our responsibility for the lack of representation of people of color on our franchise and pledge to make significant changes to address this issue moving forward. We are taking positive steps to expand diversity in our cast, in our staff, and most importantly, in the relationships that we show on television. We can and will do better to reflect the world around us and show all of its beautiful love stories.”
The comment comes days after former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay‘s emotional blog post regarding the lack of diversity on the ABC series. Lindsay, 35, has been a vocal critic of the franchise since being the only black lead in the nearly 20-year history of The Bachelor. On Monday, June 8, she continued to speak out about the show’s problem with diversity in a lengthy and honest blog post.
“Recently, I have received many questions regarding the headlines stating that I will leave the Bachelor franchise if changes to address the lack of diversity in lead roles are not established,” she wrote, just days after admitting she thinks it’s “embarrassing to be affiliated” with the dating shows. “Yes, more diverse contestants do appear on the show now, but is the lead truly interested and open to dating outside of their race? I think that is evident by how far their ‘journey’ takes them during each season.”
The lawyer later made a few suggestions for how the franchise can start to change, including casting leads who want to date outside of their own race and bringing in more diverse producers “to make your contestants of color feel more comfortable.”
The Bachelor alum also noted on June 5 that she would no longer be part of Bachelor Nation if things don’t change.
“I don’t know how you are a part of The Bachelor franchise and you’re watching what’s happening in our country right now and you don’t self-reflect that you’ve been part of the problem,” she said AfterBuzz TV’s Bachelor A.M. With Kelsey Meyer as Black Lives Matter protests continue to break out across the country. “You continue to perpetuate this type of behavior when you’re putting out something that is very white-washed and doesn’t have any type of color in it … I think that they have to, at this point, give us a black Bachelor for season 25. You have to. I don’t know how you don’t.”
Lindsay spoke out following the casting news on Friday via Twitter. “I am happy to see that a black man was cast after 18 years and 40 seasons. I believe it is a step in the right direction,” she wrote. “I would be remiss to not point out that based on the current climate, it feels like a knee-jerk reaction and a result of societal pressure. This announcement, without any further commitments regarding diversity, sweepingly brushes deeper issues under the rug. Until we see action to address the systemic racism within the franchise, the casting news today is equivalent to the trend of posting a black box on your social media account without other steps taken to dismantle the systems of injustice. I look forward to hearing more about the additional efforts the franchise plans to make towards change.”
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