By Samantha Highfill
June 18, 2020 at 10:57 AM EDT

On June 9, former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, who was the franchise's first black lead, wrote an in-depth blog post recommending ways that the Bachelor franchise can improve diversity. Three days later, ABC announced the first-ever black Bachelor with Matt James. Then, the show's producers released a statement promising "significant changes" to increase diversity.

And although Lindsay called James' casting "a step in the right direction," she also tweeted that she felt like the decision to finally cast a black male lead was a "knee-jerk reaction" and a "result of societal pressure." She then appeared on What What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, where she further explained her tweets. "I'm excited that there's a black Bachelor," Lindsay said. "But I hated the timing of it because it does seem like a reaction to what is happening in our country. Did a man have to die in such a public way on a national stage for you to say now is the time for us to have a black Bachelor? That's what I hate. It's taking away from this moment. What I wanted was some acknowledgment and some recognition that they've been wrong and part of the problem and that they're going to vow to take the necessary changes to bring diversity internally and to more contestants of color on the show."

However, Lindsay did admit that the producers reached out to her following her blog post saying that they heard her and wanted to do more, and she does acknowledge that they released the statement, which was one of the steps she suggested in her blog post. "They actually did release a statement after they announced him saying that they've been on the wrong side of this and that they're vowing to make changes internally and to have more contestants of color," Lindsay said.

To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero, which is dedicated to ending police brutality in America through research-based strategies.
  • Color of Change, which works to move decision makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.
  • Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal services to people who have been wrongly convicted, denied a fair trial, or abused in state jails and prisons.

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The Bachelor

Chris Harrison hosts the romance reality competition series in which a gaggle of women vie for the Bachelor’s heart — and a wedding proposal. Will you accept this rose?

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