By Bianca Rodriguez published
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 Change.org 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.
IT’S *BEEN* TIME. Join me and all of the #HereToMakeFriends team in calling on @BachelorABC @fleissmeister to make their shows reflect the real world and their stated dedication to combatting racism and anti-blackness. @bachdiversity #BIPOCBachelor https://t.co/Ureq7W11Cb pic.twitter.com/JvFMTDzoJxJune 8, 2020
40 seasons. 18 years. 1 Black lead? Bachelor Nation is in desperate need of a change and has been for a long time. signing this petition is the VERY least I, as both a member of the media and audience member, can do. #BIPOCBachelor @bachdiversity https://t.co/Ke20BxI2OEJune 8, 2020
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.
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.
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Bianca Rodriguez is the Commerce Editor/Writer at Hearst Magazines Digital Media, where she covers fashion, beauty, home, and more. She likes long walks through shopping malls, a good book, and thinks a closet without platform sneakers is a travesty.
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