Bachelor Nation Is Petitioning for More Diversity and It's About Freaking Time

In 18 years, the show has only had one Black lead.

Bachelor Nation

Bachelor Nation is fed up, and frankly, so am I. The show's fans have started an anti-racism campaign in regard to the popular ABC dating franchise created by Mike Fleiss, and more than 10,000 people have signed the petition ("A Campaign For Anti-Racism in the Bachelor Franchise") in a matter of hours. As an avid watcher of the franchise for years, I fully support this move.

The petition comes at a crucial time for our country. Protests have broken out across the nation in the wake of murder of George Floyd by a white police officer—just one of countless acts of police brutality against Black Americans, who have long been let down by institutions and individuals alike. Fans' call for action for the ABC show, which is watched by millions, kicked off on June 8 and demands that the show reflect the racial diversity of our country on and off-screen.

Some of the actions the creators of the petition are asking for include: casting a Black bachelor as the Season 25 lead; casting BIPOC for at least 35 percent of contestants each season; hiring a diversity consultant to be present for all parts of the show; vetting contestants more thoroughly to make sure those who have promoted prejudice in the past never step foot in the mansion, and more.

For a show that has been on the air for over 18 years and has only featured one black lead, it's embarrassing that the franchise didn't take action earlier. I mean, Mike Johnson was literally sitting, standing, waiting right there! Yet I had to watch the snooze fest that was Peter Weber's season instead! My blood is boiling just thinking about it. I can't believe I watched Barb Weber cry for a majority of my Mondays!

Rachel Lindsay, the only Black lead they've had on the show, has recently stated she'll leave the franchise if it doesn't address its lack of diversity.

Rachel Lindsay of 'The Bachelorette'

Rachel Lindsay, the only Black lead in the show’s 40 seasons, on her first night as the new Bachelorette.

(Image credit: Craig Sjodin / Getty Images)

On Lindsay's blog, Honestly Rach, she wrote: "You never want to bite the hand that feeds you, but you also do not want to be aiding and abetting problematic behavior...I am affiliated with this franchise, and to be silent on some matters is to still be complicit with these cycles of detrimental conduct. If you saw your brother or sister continually doing something wrong, would you not hold them accountable? This is the reason that I have come to the conclusion that if changes are not made on the inside and outside of the franchise, I will dissociate myself from it."

Time will tell if she leaves, but if I'm honest, dear reader, I hope she does. Her absence would only make clear how non-inclusive this franchise is, and that when it comes to tackling the "hard issues," they have almost no BIPOC voices who can speak up.

Sign the petition here and stay up to date on the cause from their Twitter page here.

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Bianca Rodriguez is the Fashion & Luxury Commerce Manager at Hearst Magazines, covering fashion, beauty, and more for Cosmopolitan, Elle, Esquire, Harper’s BAZAAR, and Town & Country. In addition to spearheading commerce content across brands—from writing about wardrobe must-haves and sales at major retailers to strategizing—she is also an avid reader with a deep love and knowledge for books of all genres. More often than not, you can find her lounging with a good book on the weekend.