Rachel penned an intimate and passionate op-ed for New York Magazine and opened up about feeling "exploited," harassed, and repeatedly disappointed ever since appearing on Nick Viall's season of The Bachelor and then starring as The Bachelorette's first-ever Black woman for Season 13.
"They had cast me because, on paper, I made sense. I couldn't be like the Bachelorettes who had come before -- somebody who was still living at home with her parents, who had 'pageant queen' on her resume. I was a lawyer. My father was a federal judge. I had a squeaky-clean record. I had to be a good Black girl, an exceptional Black girl," Rachel wrote in a piece published Monday.
"I had to be someone the viewer could accept. And I was a token until I made sure I wasn't... I was taught at a very young age to speak up about injustices. It was no different with Bachelor Nation. And I don't think they ever saw it coming."
When she became The Bachelor franchise's first-ever Black lead in 2017, Rachel recalled, "They didn't say this part, but it couldn't be a man. A Black man going into the homes of white women and sleeping with their daughters is a narrative the audience still can't accept."
"They're protecting them from that, as we saw with the Matt James season -- they didn't even show him waking up with [his eventual winner Rachael Kirkconnell] after their Fantasy-Suite episode, during which the lead spends the night with a finalist. So it had to be a Black woman."
Rachel admitted her immediate reaction to starring on The Bachelorette was "no" because she didn't want to lose her identity or respect in the workplace, but she came to realize being "a positive representation of a Black woman" to be adored by men of all races on television "was bigger than me."
"I expressed my concerns about being the first Black lead. I talked about the fact that there were no Black people behind the camera and how I wanted that to change. I wanted them to come to me if they didn't understand something," Rachel wrote.
"I wanted a diverse season. I wanted it to be Black in every way... I felt like they were listening to me. So I said yes."
But Rachel claimed several of the Black men on her The Bachelorette season were not even interested in dating women from their own race and she was disappointed by the lack of "men of color" in the cast.
Rachel also said she felt "exploited" during her The Bachelorette runner-up Peter Kraus' hometown date, during which the show had allegedly staged a conversation with two of Peter's female friends "about having 'mixed babies' and what it was like to be an interracial couple."
"There's always one story line that causes drama each season, and for their first Black lead, they allowed it to be a racist one. They chose the low-hanging fruit. It told me everything I needed to know," Rachel explained.
When she attempted to eliminate both Lee and Kenny Layne to cut drama -- although Rachel acknowledged she liked Kenny a lot -- producers allegedly told Rachel, "You can't send a Black man home."
"They didn't want to lose the season's sheen of diversity," Rachel recalled. "'That's your fault,' I responded, 'because of how you cast this season. You didn't give me enough men of color -- not just Black men, men of color.' I was getting angrier and angrier."
Rachel added, "The fact that we had to ration the Black men was extremely upsetting. And I said, 'You have no idea what it feels like to be the first person representing Black people to your lily-white audience.'"
Rachel's resentment towards The Bachelor franchise apparently grew in Fall 2019, when she was "livid" producers didn't cast military man Mike Johnson, a contestant on Season 15 of The Bachelorette, as The Bachelor's Season 24 star.
"There's never been a veteran lead. He has got a million-dollar smile. He's handsome. He was a fan favorite. They chose someone with a pubescent haircut: Peter 'Make Sure You Know I'm Half-Latino' Weber. That was my breaking point," Rachel admitted.
"I was like, You know what? I'm going to use my platform to call out the show... Every time I spoke out about the latest bullshit, producers would get in touch and say, 'We understand your frustration. We're trying to do better.' But nothing would happen."
Fast-forwarding to May 2020, "things grew untenable," according to Rachel, when a video of former The Bachelorettestar Hannah Brown saying the N-word made headlines.
"Protesting was the only thing that gave me relief. That June, I said I would begin to 'disassociate' from the franchise if it didnâ€™t make meaningful changes," Rachel wrote.
"Later that month, I got a courtesy call from an executive producer of The Bachelor. It was to let me know, before it was announced, that Matt James would be cast as the first Black Bachelor. I laughed. 'Mighty timely of you,' I said.... What you really need to do is apologize. For 18 years, you've been part of the problem.'"
ABC did, in fact, apologize by putting out a statement acknowledging their role in perpetuating racism and vowing to do better.
"I was stunned. For the first time, I thought, Wow, maybe change is coming... Instead, the cycle repeated itself. Watching Matt's season felt like reliving my own... They gave us his whiteness," Rachel complained, explaining that the show did not focus on Matt's non-profit charity and played up the storyline regarding his absentee Black father.
And Rachel being at odds with The Bachelor franchise's longtime host Chris Harrison was apparently the final straw.
Rachel therefore said she will no longer associate herself with The Bachelor franchise, especially after the show's large group of "toxic" fans -- whom she dubbed the "Bachelor Klan" -- harassed and bullied her online following Chris' leave of absence in February.
Chris essentially defended racially-ignorant and racially-insensitive actions in The Bachelor contestant Rachael's past during an Extra interview with Rachel.
Chris therefore announced in February he'd be "stepping aside" from his hosting duties to educate himself on racism in society in a "profound" and "productive" manner.
Rachel feels she has been unfairly blamed for Chris' ouster and shared, "I'll cautiously sit back and watch the upcoming season with Michelle Young -- the next Black Bachelorette -- to uplift and support her," Rachel noted.
"I used to always say, 'If you want me to shut up, bring in another Black lead.' Now, I wouldn't come back and talk about something if they paid me. Well, maybe if they paid me eight figures."
The Bachelorette is currently airing its seventeenth season starring Katie Thurston, who wrote on Twitter in March that she fully supported Rachel in her controversy with Chris.