Bachelor Nation has a bad reputation for casting people with a history of racist, problematic behavior. Erich Schwer’s recent scandal is a reminder.
Over the years, on The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, fans have uncovered way too much racist behavior from cast members. Usually, contestants’ problematic behavior surfaces after they’ve been on the show for weeks, if not months. Often, the show’s finalists’ bigoted behavior emerges, and audiences repeatedly question why production didn’t dig deeper into their backgrounds before casting them. The trend is so consistent that many media outlets and fans have asked why Bachelor Nation has such a big problem with racism.
The Disney-backed franchise is dependent on its conservative fan base, who have not received diversified casts so warmly. So far, three Black women, Rachel Lindsay Abasolo, Tayshia Adams, and Michelle Young, and one Black man, Matt James, have become leads. However, production has not cast anybody of Latinx, Asian, or any other non-white background as leads so far, and the existing efforts to diversify have not gone smoothly, to say the least.
Rachel has frequently called out the franchise for problematic choices and behavior. She is happily married to Bryan Abasolo, the finalist on her season. However, she felt robbed of her happy ending when editors framed the story around her runner-up, who ended up walking away. This made it look like she was settling for a second choice. Bryan, who now wants kids with Rachel, also took issue with the amplification of his Latino background by editors. They played Latin music every time he entered a room, and pigeonholed him as a Miami playboy. While production plays a massive part in Bachelor Nation’s racist history, the blunders on the part of the casts are just as troubling.
Lee Garrett From The Bachelor Franchise Is Problematic
In 2017, Rachel Lindsay’s Bachelorette suitor Lee Garrett was called out for problematic past tweets, including (according to People) statements like, “I hate Islam,” “#Liberalism is a disease,” and “When is the last time YOU actually saw a pretty feminist?” He also shared tweets indicating that he supported categorizing Black Lives Matter as a terrorist group, and followed up with another post, saying that he wholeheartedly supported the inhumane torture of terrorists. During the After the Final Rose episode, Rachel and her men called out Lee with, “It’s so disappointing to me because you had such strong opinions on such sensitive issues,” and, “I didn’t want to give any life into you, your opinions or your brief time on the show.”
Garrett Yrigoyen Has Been Dragged By The Bachelor Franchise Fans
At the end of The Bachelorette season 14, Becca Kufrin’s ex Garrett Yrigoyen came under fire. He got heat for a variety of problematic posts with racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic undertones. Rachel once again chimed in, calling Garrett, “a piece of sh*t,” but didn’t elaborate, out of respect for her friendship with Becca. According to Glamour, Ashley Spivey revealed all the content that Garrett had liked, including a post joking, “when a kid makes it over the wall, and you have to throw him back,” depicting a US soldier swinging around a young child. Garrett liked a post comparing Colin Kaepernick to Glen Coffee, diminishing Colin, and glorifying Glen as a true hero for leaving the NFL to serve as an army ranger. After deleting his old Instagram account, Garrett apologized for his “mindless” double tapping in a statement on his new account, saying he’d learned an “extremely valuable lesson,” and did not want his social media to define him. Becca eventually broke up with him. Becca’s now engaged to Thomas Jacobs, whom she met on Bachelor in Paradise.
The Bachelor Franchise Star Victoria Fuller Is Controversial
Victoria Fuller joined Peter Weber’s The Bachelor season 24, before getting slammed in the winter of 2020, for sporting a “white lives matter” hat. A Maryland-based clothing company was selling the “WLM” apparel to support the white and blue marlin conservation effort. However, while the intent seems less nefarious than the messaging, a since-deleted Instagram page also promoted shirts with the WLM tagline, along with images of the Confederate flag. Peter condemned the brand, and Victoria apologized.
Hannah Brown From The Bachelorette Has Been Criticized
The Bachelorette season 15 lead Hannah Brown said the n-word in an Instagram live (captured by TMZ), while singing along to DaBaby’s “Rockstar” in 2020, before trying to play it off like she didn’t. While she released a written apology, the statement was poorly received. In her own Instagram live the next night, Rachel said that she was tired of chiming in, when nobody from Bachelor Nation would. Rachel remarked, “when you’re bold enough to say the N-word on camera, on your platform… you need to be bold enough to use your face on camera and apologize in the same way that you said the word.” However, following Hannah’s apology, she has remained a big presence in Bachelor Nation.
Rachael Kirkconnell From The Bachelor Has Been Under Fire
Regarding racism in Bachelor Nation, Rachael Kirkconnell is the number one suspect that comes to mind. As Rachel proceeded to the final episodes of Matt’s The Bachelor season 25, images began to surface which troubled fans of the popular series. They featured Rachael at an Old South Antebellum-themed party for her former sorority, held at a plantation. She’s liked photos featuring the Confederate flag. As the rest of the most diverse cast in Bachelor history expressed their deep disappointment that this scandal co-opted a season meant to represent change, former host Chris Harrison jumped to Rachael’s defense.
Chris joined Rachel L. on Extra TV to discuss the controversy around Rachael K. He started out by questioning if the plantation party was a good look in 2018 or 2021, and chastised the “woke police” for going after Rachael K. like “lions.” Rachel said that Chris’ words haunt her to this day, and reinforced that plantation parties have always been a bad look, even if the mainstream media wasn’t focusing on them. The uncomfortable interview led to Rachel L.’s decision to distance herself from Bachelor Nation, and Chris’ firing. After taking time away from the relationship to educate herself, Rachael and Matt decided to reunite.
Taylor Nolan From The Bachelor Gets Shade
In the spring of 2021, Nick Viall’s Bachelor contestant Taylor Nolan’s racist and homophobic tweets surfaced, along with one advocating that a person with a personality disorder commit suicide. According to The Wrap, Nolan wrote, “#WeWontWorkIf I have ever diagnosed you with a personality disorder,” following up “treatment: SUICIDE.” Many of her critics argued that Taylor’s license as a mental health counselor should be revoked. In a video, she apologized for the tweets, saying, “I want to be clear that they don’t take away from the work I do today, they are literally how I got here to doing this work.” Taylor, who identifies as biracial, said, “To my fellow BIPOC community,” “I’m I’m sorry I centered my whiteness and the whiteness around me.”
Erich Schwer From The Bachelorette Offended Fans
Most recently, Gabby Windey’s finalist Erich Schwer is under scrutiny for dressing up in blackface and an afro wig, in a photo from his high school yearbook. Erich said, “What I thought at the time was a representation of my love for Jimi Hendrix was nothing but ignorance.” Gabby and Rachel Recchia’s season culminates next Tuesday, where Erich will likely address the photo, and apologize in person.
Unless Bachelor Nation’s vetting process gets kicked up ten notches, these scandals are bound to keep coming. More people have a racist history than some may think, and everything is bound to surface when someone goes on national television. Rachel L.’s been at the forefront in terms of responding to most of these scandals, when it shouldn’t be her responsibility. The Bachelor franchise producers need to take greater accountability for the casts they bring together, and a far more proactive and nuanced approach to condemning racist and problematic behavior. Then, that burden won’t keep falling on their BIPOC cast members.