The Bachelorette is getting called out by Bachelor Nation -- including Rachel Lindsay, Kaitlyn Bristowe and Thomas Jacobs -- for not addressing Erich Schwer's blackface-photo controversy on the show's live finale.

Earlier this month, a high school yearbook photo of Erich in blackface resurfaced on social media and offended The Bachelorette fans, and Erich released a statement September 8 on his Instagram account, apologizing for his "ignorant" and "insensitive" actions as a teenager.


Erich admitted his behavior was "damaging" and he felt "deeply ashamed." Gabby Windey's The Bachelorette winner and new fiance said he'll always regret the offense and believes accountability is only the first step of making a real change.

However, Erich was not asked about the blackface photo on The Bachelorette's Season 19 finale. In fact, the controversy wasn't mentioned at all.

"Sigh, somebody has to say this... This is the picture they should have posted and addressed tonight in the finale instead of text from the ex," Rachel wrote Tuesday on Instagram Stories, according to Us Weekly.

Erich was put in the hot seat for text messages one of his exes, Amanda Kaylor, had released in July, claiming Erich had dated her right up until he left to film The Bachelorette and he only wanted to do the show for "clout" and new career opportunities.

Erich was given the chance to defend himself and also apologize for how he had treated Amanda, but The Bachelorette host Jesse Palmer never asked Erich or Gabby about his blackface photo.

Rachel, the first Black star of The Bachelorette -- who led Season 13 of the show -- continued in her complaint, "They really missed the mark on a necessary and important conversation that was initially not conveyed."

"This was an opportunity for @Erich_Scwher to put action to his IG post rather than hide behind it," she added. "Unfortunately not all of us can hide in the same way when we are so highly offended by it."


Kaitlyn, who starred on The Bachelorette's eleventh season and also co-hosted two editions of The Bachelorette alongside Tayshia Adams, posted a lengthy message on Instagram with her thoughts about the finale, including Erich's blackface photo.

"The show, Erich, and Gabby, had a real opportunity to use their voice and acknowledge blackface. I don't think we needed to read texts from his ex, or set up a fake mansion for [new The Bachelor star Zach Shallcross," Kaitlyn wrote Thursday.

"I think we needed to continue to evolve and show up with that many people watching. [Michelle Young], myself, and [Becca Kufrin] were all under the impression this would be addressed. It wasn't and that's not ok. Am I happy for them being happy? 10000%. I'm always rooting for love. I hope we hear more from them on this."

Kaitlyn went on to write how the franchise has given her so much and she's grateful -- but she believes people need to be held "accountable."

"Please bachelor nation, listen to voices that need to be heard. That deserve to be heard," Kaitlyn urged.

"I don't want to speak for Michelle, but I know she committed to being the lead with a promise of change. To brush over black face, and act as if we didn't have time? What message does that send? Didn't Rachel Lindsay already show us how important this is?"

Thomas, who competed for Katie Thurston on The Bachelorette's seventeenth season and then found love with Becca Kufrin on Bachelor in Paradise last summer, reportedly accused ABC of sweeping the controversy "under the rug."

"Not gonna lie, pretty disappointed that they didn't address the issues that were going on outside of those text messages," Thomas, who sat in the studio audience with his fiancee, Becca, for the live finale, said via Instagram Stories earlier this week.

"At this point, if you're on social media, we've all seen it, especially in the specific context of racial relations when it comes to this franchise in particular."

Thomas concluded, "To have a scenario like this and to just not even bring it to light, especially after everything that's happened bringing us to this point over the last three years... it's pretty disappointing."


Gabby, for her part, addressed the blackface controversy in an interview with People that was published after The Bachelorette finale.

"With his yearbook photo, I found out with the rest of the world, and I was incredibly shocked," Gabby told People of Erich.

Gabby and Erich were already engaged by the time the blackface photo resurfaced on the Internet and Erich was being subjected to backlash and criticism.

"[I] just really had to process my thoughts and feelings," Gabby said, "and it made me really think about those scenarios independently and then think about how we can grow as a couple and learn from this."

Gabby admitted she was "pretty much devastated and shocked after seeing that."

When Erich apologized for the photo earlier this month, he wrote in full on Instagram, "I wholeheartedly apologize for the insensitive photo of me in Blackface from my high school yearbook that has been circulating. What I thought at the time was a representation of my love for Jimi Hendrix, was nothing but ignorance."

He continued at the time, "I was naive to the hurtful implications of my actions to the Black community and those closest to me, and will forever regret my offensive and damaging behavior. I am deeply ashamed by my actions and understand that my apology is only the first step in taking accountability."

Gabby said dealing with two scandals involving Erich post-filming required the couple to "step back and reflect" on their relationship. Gabby said it was "challenging" for them to get through that time.

"You have to really lean on your communication and be really honest with each other while having these tough conversations," Gabby explained to People.

"So I think these are new challenges. They both happened pretty recently, so we're just kind of grounding down and seeing how we can become better... I think if everybody lived their relationship in the public eye, not many of them would succeed. So I just hope... people give us grace and respect our decisions that we make."

Gabby concluded, "And now it's just doing... the hard work in the relationship, which is getting to know each more, [good] communication, [and] really strengthening those building blocks before we get to the altar."

Gabby is currently competing on Dancing with the Stars' 31st season, and she revealed on Live with Kelly and Ryan earlier this week that she plans on living with Erich and moving in together once his lease in Los Angeles is up.


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About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.