'The Bachelor' producers speak out on "completely inexcusable" Rachel Lindsay harassment
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/02/2021
The Bachelor's producers have finally broken their silence about the online bullying Rachel Lindsay has experienced since her interview with Chris Harrison in which he made controversial racial comments that have resulted in The Bachelor host taking a leave of absence from the franchise.
"As executive producers of The Bachelor franchise we would like to make it perfectly clear that any harassment directed towards Rachel Lindsay in the aftermath of her interview with Chris Harrison is completely inexcusable," the showrunners wrote in a statement via @bachelornation Instagram account on Monday.
Rachel went as far as to delete her Instagram account on February 26 in attempt to shut down the seemingly-relentless harassment and hate she's been receiving from Bachelor Nation.
"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," The Bachelor producers continued in their statement.
It appears the angry members of Bachelor Nation have blamed Rachel for Chris's leave of absence and taken out their frustrations on the Season 13 The Bachelorette star.
"Rachel has been an incredible advocate for our cast, and we are grateful that she has worked tirelessly towards racial equity and inclusion," the statement concluded.
Rachel's "Higher Learning" podcast co-host Van Lathan posted an Instagram video on Friday reveal the disturbing news that Rachel had just disabled her Instagram account.
"She did it because that's how much hate she's getting from Bachelor fans, who are spamming her with all kinds of rude, hateful things to say. Alright, y'all have got to get a f-cking life, seriously," Van Lathan said.
Van Lathan suggested people are misdirecting their fury because Chris had been the one to make offensive comments during the Extra interview and Rachel was simply on the receiving end of them.
"Rachel is not responsible for Chris Harrison, a 49-year-old man who can't read the room in these present 2021 times," Van Lathan explained in the video.
"She's not. She's not responsible for that. It's not her job to make excuses or provide cover for somebody who doesn't understand what the f-ck triggers people in today's world. It's not."
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The podcast co-host continued, "You're going after the wrong person, and just to let you guys know, I know you love the show, but it's The Bachelor. It's not worth harassing somebody over!"
"Get a f-cking life!" he concluded. "Rachel, we love you and we're with you."
In the caption to his post, Van Lathan wrote, "Leave Rachel the f-ck alone. This harassment is going too far. My co host has zero today with the words of a grown ass man who still doesn't get it."
Van Lathan went on to tag Chris personally and call out the franchise itself for not defending Rachel.
"Are you okay with people getting at Rachel to the point she can't even exist on IG. Is anyone from the entire Bachelor Nation going to stand up and condemn this harassment of a Black woman?" Van Lathan complained.
"Yo it's just a f-cking TV SHOW, y'all need to relax for real," he added. "I love you RACH. F-ck these people."
Chris has yet to address the Rachel harassment although he's issued two public apologies since his Extra interview, the second of which showed deeper remorse as he took accountability for "excusing historical racism" and announced he'd be "stepping aside" as The Bachelor host for an unidentified "period of time" to educate himself.
Rachel's husband and The Bachelorette's thirteenth-season winner Bryan Abasolo, however, showed his support for Rachel over the weekend in an Instagram post.
"I love you, I appreciate you, I believe in you and I just wanted to let you know how proud of you I am. Keep going and never stop being you and fighting for what's right," Bryan wrote alongside a sweet photo of the pair.
Rachel also apparently has many friends backing her through this difficult time.
"I love you, I stand by you and I support you in whatever way, shape or form that's needed,"The Bachelorette's Season 14 star Becca Kufrin wrote on Instagram.
"We live in a world where online toxicity, racism, racial insensitivity & ignorance, bullying and cruelty have become a norm. This is simply not okay."
She added, "The fact that my friend Rachel had to deactivate her personal Instagram account due to extreme hate and harassment is so incredibly disheartening and deranged. It's a sad reality of the world we live in, and needs to change."
And Season 21 The Bachelor star Nick Viall said, "Chris Harrison is in the position he is in because of what he said, not because of anything Rachel did. If you want to support Chris while he is down, you should be able to do that without showing hate to anyone else."
Nick continued, "If you are one of the people who have sent hateful or racist comments to Rachel please take a serious look at what's in your heart. Your priorities are seriously out of whack."
"If you are following me, and think it's OK to send hateful, vile and harassing comments, please take a moment of deep self reflection and understand what that says about you," JoJo shared on social media.
"Hearing that Rachel Lindsay had to deactivate her account bc of the horrible bullying taking place is awful and unacceptable. We need to come together, and be kinder to one another. Please -- if you have ever been on the wrong side of this, do better. Be better."
The scandal that has driven Rachel to delete Instagram began when Georgia-native Rachael was accused of bullying a girl in high school for dating a Black man and recently liking offensive photos on Instagram, such as a friend standing in front of a house that was displaying the Confederate flag.
In addition to an image of Rachael dressed in Native American costume, photos also resurfaced of Rachael attending a plantation-themed "Old South" fraternity party at Georgia College & State University in 2018. (Rachel apologized on February 11 and says she is doing research and trying to use her social-media platform to help educate others about her mistakes).
In his Extra interview with Rachel, the first-ever Black The Bachelorette star, Chris tried to defend Rachael and dismiss backlash that had been aimed at her since early January.
Chris called for "grace" and "compassion" for Rachael and also criticized the "woke police" and "unbelievably alarming" backlash against the young woman.
Despite Chris's two statements, Rachel expressed hesitation and concern over whether Chris should ever return to his role as host of the franchise since many cast members and fans of the show are up in arms.
Rachel subsequently received an offer to hostThe Bachelor: After the Final Rose special for Matt's season that will air later this month, according to Us Weekly, and Rachel was accused of cancel culture and essentially trying to steal Chris's job.
But Rachel went on to recommend Emmanuel Acho for the position, and ABC has since selected the author and sports analyst to host After the Final Rose and presumably lead an intense discussion about the recent racism controversies.