Rachel Lindsay, the first Black Bachelorette of the long-running ABC reality competition franchise of the same name deactivated her Instagram following racist online harassment following an interview with series host and producer Chris Harrison. The now-viral interview, which took place in mid-February, regarded racist allegations involving a contestant of the current season of The Bachelor (which stars the first-ever Black Bachelor, Matt James). The contestant is Rachael Kirkconnell, who came under fire after previous photos surfaced of her attending an antebellum-themed college party in 2018, getting caught “liking” TikTok posts in support of the Confederate flag and sharing QAnon conspiracy theories.
Harrison refused to condemn these allegations of racism during his recent interview with Lindsay. Harrison has since taken a hiatus and Kirkconnell has spoken out, issuing an apology on social media.
On Monday, The Bachelor executive producers publicly supported Lindsay, who also currently serves as a special correspondent for Extra.
“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, which was posted on the franchise’s social media channels read. “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.”
“Rachel has been an incredible advocate for our cast, and we are grateful that she has worked tirelessly towards racial equity and inclusion,” the statement continued.
Other people close to Lindsay took to social media to support her as well, including her husband Bryan Abasolo, the winning contestant on Lindsay’s season.
“I love you, I appreciate you, I believe in you and I just wanted to let you know how proud of you I am. Keep going and never stop being you and fighting for what’s right,” Abasolo wrote in his Instagram caption.
“Leave Rachel the fuck alone,” her Higher Learning podcast co-host Van Lathan wrote on Instagram over the weekend. “This harassment is going too far. My co host has zero today with the words of a grown ass man who still doesn’t get it. @chrisbharrison are you okay with people getting at Rachel to the point she can’t even exist on IG. Is anyone from the entire ‘Bachelor Nation’ going to stand up and condemn this harassment of a Black woman? Yo it’s just a fucking TV SHOW, y’all need to relax for real. I love you RACH. Fuck these people.”
On Monday, Lathan followed up by posting a screenshot of an IG exchange where a white woman DM’d him with an attempt to call him and Lindsay hypocrites while defending Harrison.
“I fucking disagree [with] this fucking thought. But, thanks for the fucking message,” Lathan responded, clearly not here for the bullshit.
Also on Monday, it was announced that former NFL linebacker, author, and host of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man Emmanuel Acho will be taking over hosting duties from Harrison for the season finale after-show special, The Bachelor: After the Final Rose, which airs March 15.
“It’s both an honor and privilege to be hosting After the Final Rose,” Acho said in a statement. “This is an incredibly pivotal episode on one of the most storied shows in television history.”
“Who better to lead it?” Lindsay, who had publicly suggested Acho for the job, told People. “[He’s] someone who’s not involved with the franchise, no ties, no bias—I think it’d be great.”
We’re sending love to Lindsay as she processes this and we hope she’s able to find some peace.