I think it’s safe to say that Bachelor Nation is anxious for Matt James’ season finale next week. While the Women Tell All episode was somewhat entertaining, it didn’t distract from the controversy surrounding Chirs Harrison and presumed winner of the season, Rachael Kirkconnell.
Kirkconnell posted a video on Instagram last week about her acts of racism that surfaced last month and––once again––all I can say is: YIKES. If you want to watch a seven-minute video of Kirkconnell explaining why she is now going to share anti-racism resources, then by all means, feel free to lose seven minutes you––in the words of our least-favorite contestant, Queen Victoria–– will literally never get back.
It was recently announced that Emmanuel Acho, host and author of New York Times best-selling book, “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man,” will be hosting the After the Final Rose (AFTR) episode in place of long-time host Harrison.
“It’s been a pivotal season, and this episode will hopefully be one of the most storied shows in TV history. Empathy is needed and change is coming,” Acho said in an Instagram post.
It is unclear when, or if, Harrison will be returning to the franchise, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Harrison resigned from his hosting duties permanently. His words have caused pain for the BIPOC community and Rachel Lindsay, who as of Feb. 26, deleted her Instagram page after being harassed by supporters of the franchise and Harrison.
Lindsay, a former Bachelorette, has been vocal about racial injustices within the franchise and after her recent interview with Harrison––where he defended racism, let’s not forget––she will no longer be renewing her contract with the ABC franchise.
In her podcast “Higher Learning” that she co-hosts with Van Lathan, Lindsay commented how the franchise as a whole has yet to address the entire situation. Despite the apologies from Harrison and Kirkconnell, and having Acho host the ATFR episode, the franchise has not spoken out enough about the issue.
“They need to come out and say something. They need to grab a hold of this and control the situation because right now, you’re letting your fans speak for you. This is an audience that you have curated for 15 years until you have the first lead of color: Me,” Lindsay said in her podcast. “You have built this. These people feel that they had their world and now people of color trying to mess it up. You did this. So you need to speak out and you need to say something. You need to undo it.”
The executive producers came out with a statement March 1, before Lindsay’s podcast. The statement noted that the executive producers condemn the harassment targeting Lindsay.
“Rachel has received an unimaginable amount of hate and has been subjected to severe online bullying, which, more often than not, has been rooted in racism. That is totally unacceptable. Rachel has been an incredible advocate for our cast, and we are grateful that she has worked tirelessly towards racial equity and inclusion,” the producers said in the statement.
While this statement from the executive producers is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t even compare to actions that ABC and the franchise should be doing to address the issue and make certain it never happens again. I said this before, and I will say it again: maybe it’s time the franchise follows Harrison’s lead and takes a break from being utterly problematic.
With that being said, it appears that the franchise picked a resort to host the new season of the Bachelorette that will begin filming at the end of March at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort in Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M. There is only one small issue––they still have not announced who the next Bachelorette will be.
While it was announced that Katie Thurston would be the next lead of the franchise, it appears that the information provided was in fact just a rumor––how tragic. I am now rooting for Abigail Heringer to be the next lead, as she has always been one of my favorites and deserves to find love.
It’s possible that the franchise is delaying the announcement of the Bachelorette until next week when the finale airs. Hopefully, during the AFTR episode, viewers will have more clarity on the situation between James and Kirkconnell––I am shamelessly hoping he dumped her if she does win his season. I also hope that Lindsay can find some peace off of the internet and from the franchise that continues to fall short.