The executive producers of the dating franchise are condemning all racist harassment of Lindsay, who they applaud for using her voice to educate the public.
More from Variety
“As executive producers of ‘The Bachelor’ franchise, we would like to make it perfectly clear that any harassment directed towards Rachel Lindsay in the aftermath of her interview with Chris Harrison is completely inexcusable,” the statement, posted Monday on Twitter, reads.
“Rachel has received an unimaginable amount of hate and has been subjected to severe online bullying, which, more often than not, has been rooted in racism. That is totally unacceptable,” the statement continues. “Rachel has been an incredible advocate for our cast, and we are grateful that she has worked tirelessly towards racial equity and inclusion.”
Lindsay — who was the franchise’s first-ever Black lead in 2017 — carries an incredible burden on her shoulders, as she constantly uses her platform to speak out against race issues facing the ABC series, essentially becoming the show’s unofficial spokesperson for diversity and inclusion.
Earlier this month, she interviewed longtime “Bachelor” host Chris Harrison on “Extra” in a conversation that garnered widespread attention for all the wrong reasons — during the interview, Harrison defended current “Bachelor” contestant, and frontrunner, Rachael Kirkconnell, who has been under fire for resurfaced photos of her in attendance at a plantation-themed fraternity party in 2018.
In the aftermath of his comments, Harrison apologized and announced he’d be “stepping aside” from the franchise for “a period of time.”
So far, Harrison will be stepping away from “After the Final Rose,” but no word on whether he will be removed from more than one episode. In Harrison’s absence, former NFL linebacker and Fox Sports analyst, Emmanuel Acho, who is known for his online series “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man,” will be hosting “After the Final Rose.”
Amidst the Harrison saga, Lindsay has been subject to online bullying, which caused her to delete her Instagram. This past weekend, Lindsay’s “Higher Learning” podcast co-host Van Lathan confirmed that she had deactivated her account, condemning the attacks.
“My co-host on ‘Higher Learning,’ Rachel Lindsay, disabled her Instagram earlier today. She did it because that’s how much hate she’s getting from ‘Bachelor’ fans, who are spamming her with all kinds of rude, hateful things to say,” Lathan said. “Rachel is not responsible for Chris Harrison, a 49-year-old man who can’t read the room in these present 2021 times. She’s not responsible for that. It’s not her job to make excuses or provide cover for somebody who doesn’t understand what the fuck triggers people in today’s world.”
Representatives for Lindsay did not respond to Variety‘s request for comment when she deleted her account last week.
Numerous cast members from “The Bachelor” franchise have released statements of support, standing with Lindsay, emphatically stating she should not be alone in her fight to educate the public on anti-racism, equity and inclusion. The current star of “The Bachelor,” Matt James — the first-ever Black lead of the show — recently said that Harrison failed to “receive and understand the emotional labor that my friend Rachel Lindsay was taking on” by explaining the “painful” and racist history that Kirkconnell’s Antebellum South social media pictures represented.
One year ago, long before the Harrison controversy, ABC aired a special “Women Tell All” episode of “The Bachelor” where Lindsay and other contestants sat down with Harrison to speak out against racist bullying they endure from Bachelor Nation.
Neither ABC or Warner Bros. have commented on the recent online hate towards Lindsay, or the scandal surrounding Harrison and Kirkconnell.
Best of Variety