SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “The Bachelor: Women Tell All” from Season 24.
When the women of Peter Weber’s season of “The Bachelor” gathered in a soundstage in Los Angeles to recount their time on the ABC dating competition program, it wasn’t just details of what happened inside the mansion that they discussed. Host Chris Harrison brought former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay to also bring to the forefront of the conversation the unspoken consequence of being on the show: online harassment.
Lindsay discussed the onslaught she faced after starring in Season 21 of the romance competition before she received her own season of “The Bachelorette,” making her the first black bachelorette in the history of the show. She also read a few of the comments some of the girls from the current season starring Weber had received.
“No one cares that you’re a half n—er, Mexican bitch,” one message read.
The crowd proceeded to cringe as Lindsay teared up while reading other messages that echoed the same tone. But although Harrison and Lindsay acknowledged the messages held tones of hate speech, they failed to call them out as racist.
This new segment in the infamous “Women Tell All” special came to fruition after Sydney Hightower voiced the problems she’d faced regarding hateful messages she’d received from “The Bachelor” fans.
“I felt so strongly about this and having this moment at the end to talk about those things because I dealt with that directly. I’ve dealt with it my whole life, but when you’re put to that magnitude, it hits you just a little bit different and it’s one of those things where you just have to be strong in it, but it’s not okay,” Hightower told Variety at the taping. “This has to stop. Nothing that we did on the show deserves that.”
The Alabama native went on to express that the racially-toned messages were nothing new to her, saying she’s experienced comments of the same nature since her youth.
“I am a strong woman, but it’s because of the things I’ve been through. Growing up in rural Alabama and being who I am, my mother has gotten things done to her that are unspeakable and so have I,” she said. “The things that have been done to me have just shaped me into who I am, and those are horrific things.”
Tammy Ly shared that recently people have told her “to get Coronavirus” or to “go back to Korea and die.” But the former contestant is Vietnamese, not Korean.
“It’s extremely rude because they want to hurt you and they know that’s the only way that they can hurt you,” she said, “and it’s just disgusting that people think that that’s OK to say.”
Shiann Lewis, another woman of color, also shared her experience, specifically noting that she has received a lot of messages with “name-calling” and “a lot of things about my hair, a lot of things about my skin tone, that I’m ugly — just anything.”
The women seemed split as to the reason for these messages. Some said it is simply the high price of fame, but Ly expressed thought that social media plays a factor largely due to its accessibility, and the accessibility of the cast members.
“As much as I love social media, it’s a passage way for people to get more of their opinions out there and a lot of people’s opinions are really nasty,” she said.
The overall consensus revealed that many of the girls felt relieved after having the tough conversation on the show and highlighting a major oversight within “The Bachelor’s” fan base, though.
“People don’t realize how much of that we get in our private lives from ‘Bachelor Nation’ or from people that watch the show,” Lewis shared. “There’s so many people that watch this show, that it needed to be said. … It’s sad because it’s 2020. It’s been so long since this had been supposed to be put to rest, and it’s not put to rest whatsoever.”
“The Bachelor” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.