Ex-‘Bachelorette’ Rachel Lindsay Says Franchise Shouldn’t Film Until Chris Harrison Controversy Is Resolved


Rachel Lindsay, the first-ever Black star of “The Bachelorette,” is looking out the ABC franchise for staying silent as the continuing racial controversy involving host Chris Harrison and “The Bachelor” contestant Rachael Kirkconnell continues to spiral.

On Lindsay’s podcast “Higher Learning,” which she hosts with Van Lathan, she stated the present shouldn’t start filming “The Bachelorette” till the franchise figures out the right way to deal with its ever-mounting issues.

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“They’re about to go into production for ‘The Bachelorette,’” Lindsay, who starred as “The Bachelorette” in 2017, stated on the podcast, which went up early Tuesday morning. “I think they should just stop until … they get the train back on the tracks. You’re going to go another season, but you still have all of these issues. How have you fixed them coming into a new season? You really haven’t. I think that they need to take a beat, figure things out, regroup and then bring the product back to us in a way that we can all enjoy it like we used to.”

Earlier this yr, when the present season of “The Bachelor” started airing, Kirkconnell — who stays a frontrunner contestant on Matt James’ season, which wraps up in two weeks — got here beneath fireplace as older images of her resurfaced on social media. In the images, she is seen in attendance at an Old South plantation-themed fraternity occasion. She additionally preferred images that comprise pictures of the Confederate flag.

Following the social media controversy, Lindsay, who’s a correspondent on “Extra,” interviewed Harrison on the leisure information present and requested him his ideas about Kirkconnell. Harrison went to nice lengths to defend Kirkconnell, calling out the “woke police” and suggesting that the racist conduct was not as dangerous in 2018 as it will be as we speak in 2021. Lindsay objected to that argument.

Since the broadly criticized interview aired, the scandal has escalated, with Harrison stepping apart from the sequence (he gained’t be internet hosting the “After the Final Rose” episode this month), and quite a few “Bachelor” alums calling out the franchise for its poor dealing with of race and variety.

The Harrison controversy comes as “The Bachelor” is airing its first season with a Black lead, for the reason that present debuted in 2002. The present season additionally options probably the most various pool of contestants within the franchise’s historical past.

On Tuesday, Extra posted a narrative saying that Harrison will probably be interviewed by Michael Strahan” “Good Morning America” this week. Both Harrison and Kirkconnell have already made their very own apologies on their private social media accounts, however ABC and Warner Bros., which produces “The Bachelor,” haven’t made any official feedback relating to the controversy, although the government producers of the franchise tweeted an announcement yesterday, in assist of Lindsay, who has been the goal of hateful harassment, ever since her interview with Harrison.

Lindsay is now calling out the franchise for its silence.

“They need to come out and say something,” Lindsay stated on the podcast.

“Right now, you’re letting your fans speak for you,” Lindsay stated. “This is an audience you have curated for 15 years until you had the first lead of color, me. You have built this. These people feel like they had their world, and now people of color are trying to mess it up. You did this! So you need to speak out, and you need to say something — you need to undo it. And at the moment, they’re silent.”

ABC and Warner Bros. declined to remark.

The podcast was taped Monday, earlier than the producers of “The Bachelor” franchise launched the assertion in assist of Lindsay, condemning all racist on-line bullying. (Lindsay had deleted her Instagram account final week, within the wake of the harassment.)

Despite the producers’ assertion, which was posted on their Twitter account, there was no official assertion launched by the community or studio, at this level. And it’s unclear whether or not Harrison will proceed internet hosting duties, after he steps apart from “After the Final Rose,” which is filming this week.

Typically, the brand new season of “The Bachelorette” movies instantly after “The Bachelor” airs, so ought to Harrison be again to host that season, a call will must be made swiftly.

Lindsay’s co-host Lathan stated it’s troublesome to look at the present now as a result of what’s taking place off-screen is a distraction. “Now it seems like no one is having any fun,” he stated. “Nobody’s having any fun. The whole globule of it seems toxic.” He prompt that Harrison ought to come on their podcast, saying, “At this point, ABC, Chris, you, everyone who is not going to be able to run from the fact that they’re involved in this, at some point people are going to have to come together and figure out how to move forward, get back to watching random people fuck each other on the television show.”

“Nobody is expecting it to be ‘Bachelor: Wakanda’ next season,” Lathan quipped, when discussing a path ahead for the franchise.

In addition to her “Higher Learning” podcast, Lindsay additionally serves as co-host of “Bachelor Happy Hour,” the official podcast for Bachelor Nation, with fellow former “Bachelorette” Becca Kufrin.

This week, Lindsay — who’s beneath contract with Warner Bros. to host “Bachelor Happy Hour” — was absent from the episode, which additionally went up early Tuesday morning. Kufrin addressed the absence, explaining that in mild of Lindsay deleting her Instagram, “She has been taking on so much in the world of Bachelor Nation. And I want to extend my support and friendship and just give her a little break. She needs it, she needs some time away.”

After her interview with Harrison final month, Lindsay stated she doesn’t need to renew her contract with Warner Bros. (“I’m fucking tired. I’m exhausted. I have truly had enough,” she stated on Feb. 12.)

A supply conversant in the matter says that Lindsay remains to be working with the Bachelor Nation podcast.

Variety has reached out to Warner Bros. and a consultant for Lindsay, relating to her contract with the studio.

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