Bachelor Nation stars and fans are you uniting to call on the ABC franchise to diversify its ranks.
Rachel Lindsay got the ball rolling on June 5th, when she announced that she would no longer be associated with the show if it didn’t diversify. Lindsay is, as many know, the only black lead in Bachelor Nation’s history.
She suggested diversifying things in on screen and behind the scenes:
“Cast leads that are truly interested in dating outside of their race. Stop making excuses for the lack of diversity and take action to rectify the problem; diversify the producers on the show to make your contestants of color feel more comfortable; and stop creating problematic story lines for people of color.”=
Tyler Cameron, Seinne Fleming and Lauren Burnham are among those calling on the franchise to change its tune. A Change.org petition notes: “ABC and Warner Bros. have been producing Bachelor content for 18 years. During that time they’ve cast 40 season leads, yet only one Black lead. This is unacceptable. As creators of one of the most popular and influential franchises on television, ABC and Warner Bros. have an opportunity and responsibility to feature Black, Indigenous, People of Color (“BIPOC”) relationships, families, and storylines. The franchise, and all those who represent it, should reflect and honor the racial diversity of our country–both in front of and behind the camera.”
The campaign has received well over 55,000 signatures. The petition is asking for the lead of Season 25 to a black man, and asking that people of color to make up “at least 35 percent of contestants each season.”
Marquel Martin—a contestant on Andi Dorfman's season of The Bachelorette—took to Instagram to discuss ABC‘s silence no BLM, and share his thoughts on why he was never made the first Black Bachelor.
He wrote in part: “Maybe some of you personally aren’t racist and support the #blacklivesmatter movement, but as a franchise I’ve yet to see it. And as I’ve said IN THE LETTER I WROTE (IN 2014!) race played a big role then, and it still does today. As I've said 6 years ago; ‘your fan base is predominantly white’, ‘it’s a ratings/money thing’, ‘you guys should have a black bachelorette first’, ‘your audience isn't ready for a black male lead like me yet’ etc. I actually remember one of you calling me after I wrote this letter saying “why aren’t you writing about Ferguson” assuming I didn’t care. Thinking back on it, all of that shit was wrong and it needs to stop. Don’t hide behind money, speak up and support us like we MATTER, because we do!!!! We watch your show, we part.”