Eighteen years. Forty seasons. One black lead. Numerous Bachelor and Bachelorette stars are urging fans to follow their call of action to hold the franchise accountable for its astounding lack of diversity among contestants. A petition, titled “A Campaign for Anti-Racism in the Bachelor Franchise,” began circulating around social media on June 5, with many notable faces in the franchise pledging their support to the petition’s demands, which include casting a black Bachelor for the upcoming 25th season, ensuring every future contestant pool is 35 percent nonwhite, and giving equitable screen time to those contestants of color. (Because everyone deserves the right to be laughed at on national TV along with their mother.) Kaitlyn Bristowe, Ashley Spivey, Tyler Cameron, Bibiana Julian, and Diggy Moreland are among the Bachelor Nation stars who have pledged their support to the petition.
The campaign gained traction after Bachelorette star Rachel Lindsay, the franchise’s only black lead, said in an interview earlier this month that she’ll sever her relationship with the show if it continues to be dominated by white faces. “It’s ridiculous. It’s embarrassing. At this point it’s embarrassing to be affiliated with it,” Lindsay explained. “It bothers me that certain things have happened that we just say, ‘Oh, hush hush,’ and ‘Let’s just move on past it.’ We need to acknowledge it, because what you’re doing is perpetuating this type of behavior, you’re continuing to.” In May, Lindsay was also publicly critical of fellow Bachelorette lead Hannah Brown, who was caught on video singing the N-word. She called Brown’s attempts at apologizing “insincere.”
Despite the franchise (or more specifically, Clare Crawley’s Bachelorette season) being on an indefinite hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, a filler show for the summer, The Bachelor: The Most Unforgettable — Ever!, premiered on June 8. The three-hour program neglected to address any lingering diversity or racism issues, nor did it mention Brown’s controversy.