Rachel Lindsay, the first Black lead in The Bachelor/The Bachelorette franchise, says she’s not going to renew her contract after controversial comments made by host Chris Harrison in an interview with her on Extra.
“I’m f***ing tired. I’m exhausted. I have truly had enough,” Lindsay said to Van Lathan on his podcast “Higher Learning” Friday, as reported by Variety. Through her contract, she makes several appearances throughout the seasons of the shows and hosts a Bachelor Nation podcast.
She revealed she wouldn’t renew her contract with the franchise because of an interview she had with Harrison, in which he asked questions that could be taken as defending racism. As we reported earlier, Harrison recently spoke with Lindsay on Extra, where she currently works as a correspondent, about the controversy facing The Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell.
Kirkconnell, who is the frontrunner among the contestants vying for the heart of the first Black Bachelor Matt James, attended an “Old South” party while in college, among other disturbing things that surfaced. While Lindsay said Kirkconnell’s actions weren’t “a good look ever,” Harrison tried to argue that certain racist actions might not seem racist in another context.
“Well, Rachel, is it a good look in 2018, or is it not a good look in 2021? Because there’s a big difference,” he said. “…That was not the case in 2018. I’m not defending Rachael, I just know that, I don’tk now, 50 million people did that in 2018. That was a type of party that a lot of people went too…Where is this lens we’re holding up and was this lens available, and were we all looking through it in 2018?”
Despite not realizing that parties celebrating the south’s racist past weren’t ever seen as acceptable at any time, Harrison continued by asking if viewers should give Kirkconnell “a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion.”
Harrison has since apologized for his statements after meeting an online backlash, saying, “I have this incredible platform to speak about love, and yesterday I took a stance on topics about which I should have been better informed. While I do not speak for Rachael Kirkconnell, my intentions were simply to ask for grace in offering her an opportunity to speak on her own behalf. What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am so deeply sorry. I also apologize to my friend Rachel Lindsay for not listening to her better on a topic she has a first-hand understanding of, and humbly thank the members of Bachelor Nation who have reached out to me to hold me accountable. I promise to do better.”
While on Lathan’s podcast, Lindsay spoke about why she went on The Bachelorette and how she hoped it would change the franchise for the better.
“My entire reason for doing The Bachelorette–and I was lucky that it worked out for me in the most beautiful way by finding [husband] Bryan [Abasolo]–is that I wanted to be representative as a Black woman to this audience. And I wanted to pave the way for more people to have this oportunity,” she said. “In some ways that has happened. I wanted the franchise to be better. I have a love-hate relationship with it. I’m connected to it. It did stuff for me, and I’ll never forget that.”
Seeing how she had also threatened to leave the franchise if they didn’t cast a Black Bachelor, it would appear that Lindsay may have reached her final straw with the often-problematic franchise.