Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Maxim
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Maxim
Rachel Lindsay has an important message for all of the haters.
On Monday, The Bachelorette alum used her celebrity platform for good, by addressing the hateful messages she and the Bachelor Nation contestants receive on a daily basis.
“I’m never at a loss of words or opinions, as we know, but I’m really nervous right now,” she told Harrison. “The issue that we’re gonna discuss today is sadly something that most of us have experienced. That’s online harassment, and it’s hate, and it’s so unfortunate, because people have become so comfortable being mean and meaner than ever on social media.”
More specifically, Rachel called out the blatant racism she and others have gotten online. As many will recall, the 34-year-old star became the first-ever African American to be The Bachelorette during the show’s 13th season.
However, the franchise’s Bachelor and Bachelorette leads have been primarily white. Rachel explained that she knew being the show’s lead “would be hard” but she didn’t expect for things to be “so much worse” than she thought.
“I wanted to pave a way for women who look like me who hadn’t been represented in this role on this show,” she told Harrison. “But sometimes I feel like my efforts are in vain because it seems to just be getting so much worse. And I feel like you guys hear us talk about the hate that we receive, but you have no idea what it is.”
“I’m shaking,” she said, as she read a few online messages that people have written. “When you’re bullied for the way that you were born or the color of your skin… that’s something that’s not a choice, and that’s something that you can’t change.”
Moreover, some of the Bachelor Nation contestants joined in on the conversation to share their own experiences, including Sydney Hightower, who recently defended herself online after people claimed she “lied” about being bullied and facing racism in high school.
“The things that I’ve had to go through in my life because of the color of my skin and because of where I’m from, I’ve had to be really strong,” she shared with Rachel. “When these things are said about you and those wounds from your past aren’t… never fully closed.”
She added, holding back the tears, “When people attack you that way… when it comes to the point of attacking someone for who their mother and father is, and because of the color of their skin, that’s where it has to stop.”
Just last month, Sydney had to share a social media statement about being bullied in high school. Her former classmates alleged she made it all up on The Bachelor.
“Any one from my high school want to pull out the videos of girls stuffing my locker with Oreo cookies, vandalizing my home, shoving me in the hall ways,” she wrote. “Teachers literally referring to me as a halfbreed? Calling my mother the worst names I’ve ever heard in my life? I doubt that.”
“I’ve been through so much from the town I grew up in and will not allow my story, or others to be diminished because of one of the same girls, with the same mindsets as the people who terrorized me,” she continued. “This is extremely vile and the language used in these should never be repeated, I can’t believe human beings even speak this way.”
For Rachel, she wanted to bring attention to this issue for an important reason: she wants the hate to stop.
“I think people feel empowered that they can continue to say certain things to us,” she said. “And if we’re ever gonna fix this problem, we have to acknowledge the problem.”
In addition to raising awareness on the racial comments contestants get online, Rachel has continued to call out Bachelor Nation’s lack of diversity.
“I think it’s unacceptable at this point. The show’s been on for 17 years. We’re going into 24 seasons of The Bachelor and it’s yet to happen,” she told Fox News in 2019 over the show’s diversity problem. “So you kind of start to lose hope because you don’t understand what the problem is, especially when you have such a good candidate in Mike Johnson, who was just on this last season [of The Bachelorette].”
She added, “I think that they’ll have to change some things and break the rules because obviously the system as it is isn’t working. So hopefully they step outside of the box and really try to pursue filling that role with a person of color… So to be honest, I’m not really hopeful.”
The Bachelor airs Mondays, 8 p.m. on ABC.