The executive producers of The Bachelor are stepping up to defend one of its former stars from a wave of harassment from fans.
The producers of the ABC reality franchise released a statement on Monday, saying that “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.” Lindsay, who became the franchise’s first Black lead on The Bachelorette in 2017, deleted her Instagram after enduring harassment from fans following her interview with Bachelor host Harrison, who stirred controversy by defending current contestant Rachael Kirkconnell after photos surfaced of her attending an Antebellum party. (Harrison has since apologized and temporarily stepped away from the show, with Emmanuel Acho replacing him as host of this season’s After the Final Rose special.)
“Rachel has received an unimaginable amount of hate and has been subjected to severe online bullying, which, more often that not, has been rooted in racism,” the Bachelor producers’ statement continued. “That is totally unacceptable. Rachel has been an incredible advocate for our cast, and we are grateful that she has worked tirelessly towards racial equality and inclusion.”
Lindsay pushed back at Harrison during the initial interview, pointing out that an Antebellum party celebrates the Old South, when Black people were slaves, and asking: “If I went to that party, what would I represent?” Days later, she said she planned to cut ties with the Bachelor franchise following the controversy: “I have truly had enough. How much more do I want to be affiliated with this?… I can’t take it anymore. I’m contractually bound in some ways. But when it’s up, I am too.”