Rachel Lindsay, the first Black lead of ABC’s “The Bachelorette,” said she wants producers to do more vetting after she had a racist contestant on her season.
Lindsay, 35, said Wednesday on “Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen” that she does not want the same thing to happen to the new bachelor Matt James, who is the show’s first Black male lead.
“I did have a racist contestant on my season, which is one the things that I’m fighting for with Matt James as the first Black bachelor,” she said. “For them to do a better job of vetting contestants. You need a person of color in the decision room making decisions so that doesn’t happen to them.”
Lindsay, who appeared on the show in 2017, did not go into further detail and did not reveal the contestant’s identity. NBC News could not immediately reach Lindsay or “The Bachelorette” on Thursday.
Lindsay also told Cohen that she experienced racism from viewers about the men she picked during her season, including choosing Bryan Abasolo as the winner.
“My husband is Colombian and so I got a lot of racism towards the fact that we were in an interracial relationship,” she said. “Just a lot of nasty messages, trolling.”
Lindsay has been vocal about the show’s lack of diversity and threatened to quit the Bachelor franchise if changes were not made. Last week, “The Bachelor” revealed on social media that it had cast James as the new lead for Season 25. He will be the first Black Bachelor in the show’s history.
The executive producers for “The Bachelor” released a statement on June 12 acknowledging that there has been a “lack of representation of people of color on our franchise” and pledged to change.
“We are taking positive steps to expand diversity in our cast, in our staff, and most importantly, in the relationships that we show on television,” the statement read. “We can and will do better to reflect the world around us and show all of its beautiful love stories.”
Lindsay told Cohen that while she’s excited there is a Black Bachelor, she does not like the timing of it.
“It does seem like a reaction to what is happening in our country,” she explained. “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.”
James’ season is expected to premiere in 2021. Lindsay and Abasolo married in August 2019.