Rachel Lindsay made Bachelor Nation history when she was the first Black lead of the franchise on The Bachelorette in 2017. She became the bachelorette after competing on Nick Viall’s season of The Bachelor. Lindsay made it to the Fantasy Suites week of Viall’s season, and ABC announced early on that she would be the next franchise lead. Lindsay, whose father is a federal judge, and is a lawyer herself, seemed like the perfect person to fill the lead role. But now, Lindsay thinks ABC regretted giving her the spot.
The former bachelorette left Bachelor Nation after this interview
Lindsay sparked a greater discussion in Bachelor Nation after her February Extra interview with Chris Harrison. In the interview, she asked Harrison what he thought about Rachael Kirkconnell’s social media history, which included dressing up on a plantation.
Harrison defended Kirkconnell, saying her posts were from 2018. At the time, Kirkconnell was a frontrunner on Matt James’ season of The Bachelor. He ended up choosing her for his final rose but broke up with her later on. (The pair are reportedly back together.)
After the interview, much of Bachelor Nation condemned Harrision and he eventually “stepped aside” from the franchise. Lindsay spoke about what was problematic with Harrison’s words, and the culture within Bachelor Nation as a whole.
A few months later, she stepped down as co-host from the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast, which she worked on with Becca Kufrin.
Rachel Lindsay said she thinks ABC regrets casting her as the lead
Lindsay knew when ABC cast her as the lead of The Bachelorette that she “checked all of the boxes,” she said while on Ziwe’s Showtime show. “She’s a good Black girl,” she asserted about herself, per The Hollywood Reporter.
“I absolutely don’t regret it,” Lindsay said. “It changed my life completely. Do I think they have regrets? Yes.”
“I’m not quite sure if they understood what they were going to get with me,” Lindsay continued. “I think maybe they thought, ‘She’ll play the game.’ Which I did, contractually. When that contract was up, I started to speak out on things that needed to change.”
For instance, Lindsay called for more diversity behind the scenes in Bachelor Nation. She shared the Bachelor Diversity campaign, a fan-led campaign asking for ways to make the bachelor franchise representative of more diverse stories, on-screen and off.
ABC has had more Black leads since Rachel Lindsay’s season
Since Lindsay’s season, The Bachelor had its own Black lead in James. His casting was controversial, since he didn’t participate on a season of The Bachelorette before getting the lead spot. But he was well-known among fans due to his friendship with both Tyler Cameron and Hannah Brown.
And The Bachelorette had its second Black lead in Tayshia Adams, who filmed for what was essentially half a season. She filled in for Clare Crawley, who left a couple weeks in to be with Dale Moss.
It’s yet to be determined how the franchise will change its issues with diversity and racism, especially with the question looming whether Harrison will return as host. Furthermore, The Bachelor hasn’t been renewed yet by ABC. But one thing’s for sure — Lindsay is done with the franchise.