In her statement, Collins claimed that she was the only black person in the casting office throughout her five seasons with the franchise. After being hired to help cast the first black Bachelorette in Rachel Lindsay, Collins was “excited to be an integral part of the show’s history.”
She recalled being called upon to find a “diverse cast,” but the change was short-lived.
“My hope was that having a racially diverse cast of gentlemen would be an important milestone that would continue into the future. That was not the case,” the casting producer explained.
Collins revealed that after Lindsay’s season, everything “went back to the status quo” and the cast was predominately white. According to her, the only black women picked were “ethnically ambiguous.” She claimed that others weren’t even considered if they were “too black.”
“Women with afros, braids, locs, etc; weren’t even given a chance because of the white standards of beauty,” she alleged, noting that she “felt alone” at work, only seeing three other black people throughout the office.
Despite speaking out, Collins claimed nothing changed and she was met with resistance.
“Your show has white-washed for decades, inside and out. Your head of post-production is white. Your Casting Director is white. Your Executive in Charge is white,” Collins wrote. “You only cast the token Black person, Asian person or Latinx person to satisfy what you believe to be the needs of the viewers. Many called for a Black bachelor for years — but you ignored it.”
Although the producer revealed she is “happy” to see James, 28, as the first black Bachelor, she noted that it took “a pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement to take a moment and reassess the issue at hand, which I’ve called on for years.”
In the end, Collins wants ABC to create a more inclusive and diverse work environment throughout its company, which echoes Bachelor Nation’s Change.org petition launched earlier this month asking for a black lead on season 25.
“I am calling on you to select a diverse cast and production team for season 25 of The Bachelor and moving forward,” she wrote. “Not only is it important to have a diverse cast reflect what the rest of America looks like, it’s important for the production and casting teams to be able to share the same experiences as the cast members.”
She added that a white team is “truly unable to relate” to people of color onscreen, which is part of the problem.
“A Black, Asian, Latinx, Indigenous man or woman should not have to walk on a set for up to eight weeks and stare at a crowd of white faces while they pour their heart out on national TV without also having a diverse, understanding team to guide them through the process,” Collins concluded.
Us has reached out to ABC for a comment.
With reporting by Marc LupoListen on Spotify to Here For the Right Reasons to get inside scoop about the Bachelor franchise and exclusive interviews from contestants.
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