A lot of people in America are currently reckoning with this country’s extremely terrible history of racism, with most of the anger and frustration right now being directed at the police and their uncanny ability to consistently get away with murdering Black people, but it’s also important to look at how various other institutions in this country have been consumed by systemic racism—institutions like, say, reality TV. Case in point: ABC’s long-running Bachelor franchise, which has run for nearly two decades and 40 seasons, has only ever had one Black person as the lead (Rachel Lindsay, who was The Bachelorette in 2017). An online petition is asking ABC to change that, and while most online petitions aren’t necessarily worth much, this one actually has the support of multiple former Bachelor stars.
As reported by Page Six, Bachelor alum like Lindsay, Nick Viall, JoJo Fletcher, Diggy Moreland, Nicole Lopez-Alvar, and more have signed the petition, which is specifically asking ABC and the producers to cast a Black man as the Bachelor for the show’s upcoming 25th season. It also wants the network and producers to “cast BIPOC [Black, Indigineous, people of color] for at least 35 percent of contestants each season hereafter,” to give “equitable screen time to BIPOC contestants,” to vet contestants better beforehand so they can avoid casting anyone who has “promoted prejudice,” and to issue a public statement “apologizing for enabling systemic racism within the franchise and offer a clear plan for demonstrable anti-racism efforts moving forward.” There’s also a section asking those who sign the petition to hold themselves to the same standard as viewers, whether that means speaking out against racism in real life or online and supporting BIPOC contestants if they seem to be treated unfairly because of their racial identity. The petition is currently hovering around 60,000 signatures.
In addition to the ongoing protests against racial injustice and police violence, this also comes a few weeks after former Bachelorette star Hannah Brown had to apologize for saying the n-word while singing a song in an Instagram video.
Looking for ways to advocate for Black lives? Check out this list of resources by our sister site Lifehacker for ways to get involved.