Former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay has opened up about her time as the first Black Bachelorette, her experience with the “hateful, racist” Bachelor Nation fandom and her now-famous interview with ex-host Chris Harrison.
In a powerful essay for Vulture, Lindsay drew a distinction between the two types of fandoms she’s observed around the franchise.
“There is a Bachelor Nation, and there is a Bachelor Klan. Bachelor Klan is hateful, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and homophobic. They are afraid of change. They are afraid to be uncomfortable. They are afraid when they get called out.”,” Lindsay said, commenting on her recent decision to permanently cut ties with the franchise.
Of her experience as the first Black Bachelorette in 2017, the 36-year-old attorney said, “I couldn’t be like the Bachelorettes who had come before — somebody who was still living at home with her parents, who had ‘pageant queen’ on her résumé,” she said.
“I was a lawyer. My father was a federal judge. I had a squeaky-clean record. I had to be a good Black girl, an exceptional Black girl. I had to be someone the viewer could accept. And I was a token until I made sure I wasn’t.”
Lindsay also said that the Bachelor audience “always had a complicated relationship” with her, but it “really started to turn against me” after the February interview she did with Harrison about Matt James’s season of The Bachelor, during which Harrison appeared to defend contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, who was beginning to get pushback on social media for attending an Antebellum-themed party in 2018.
“Some fans on social media started trying to dig up dirt on me,” Lindsay said. “I received death threats and personal attacks. I had to hire people to protect me. I couldn’t even pretend to want to be involved anymore. I didn’t want to give people a reason to talk about me because everything I was saying was becoming a headline. And so I decided to remove myself from it all.”
Harrison permanently exited The Bachelor franchise earlier this month. “Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host of The Bachelor franchise,” ABC Entertainment and Bachelor studio Warner Horizon said in a joint statement. “We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey.”