During her appearance on Wednesday’s “Watch What Happens Live!”, Lindsay, the first black Bachelorette, looked back on the racism she endured as the lead, including having a “racist contestant” among her suitors.
“I did have a racist contestant on my season, which is one of the things that I’m fighting for for Matt James, as the first black Bachelor, for them to do a better job at vetting contestants,” she explained (watch above). “You need a person of color in the decision room making decisions so that doesn’t happen to them.”
Though she didn’t name names, it’s clear that the attorney was referring to singer-songwriter Lee Garrett, whose racist tweets resurfaced shortly after Season 13 premiered in 2017. His comments included comparing Black Lives Matter to a terrorist group and the NAACP to the KKK. Garrett finished in 12th place.
Proper vetting and diversifying behind-the-scenes talent are two of the anti-racism measures Lindsay and the fan petition Bachelor Diversity Project have been advocating for on the predominantly white franchise.
Sen. Cory Booker, who was also a guest on “Watch What Happens Live!,” weighed in, stating that it feels like producers “want that storyline.” “I just don’t like that they might be opportunist in that and try to hype that storyline as well,” he said. “I think they should, as you say, vet that out.”
Lindsay shared producers admitted they “didn’t do a good job at vetting out” the contestant. “But I would hope in the future that never happens again,” she said. “It’s a storyline that shouldn’t happen and they received a lot of heat from that.”
On the other end, the 35-year-old also experienced racist attacks from the audience, especially when she chose her now-husband Bryan Abasolo. “My husband is Colombian, so I got a lot of racism towards the fact that we were in an interracial relationship,” she said. “Just a lot of nasty messages, trolling.”
During the interview, Lindsay also reiterated her tempered excitement about James’ casting. While she’s thrilled he’s the first black Bachelor, she “hated the timing” of the announcement on the heels of the Black Lives Matter movement following George Floyd‘s death.
“I’m excited that there’s a black Bachelor, I just want to say that. But I hated the timing of it because it does seem like a reaction to what is happening in our country,” she said. “Did a man have to die in such a public way on a national stage for you to say now is the time for us to have a black Bachelor? That’s what I hate; it’s taking away from this moment.”