Rachel Lindsay Reveals Moments The Bachelor Producers Kept Off Air, Says She Was Pressured to Keep Black Contestants for Optics
Rachel Lindsay, former star of The Bachelorette, opened up about her experience with the franchise in a recent op-ed for New York Magazine, revealing just how involved the producers are.
Lindsay joined the Bachelor Nation in 2017 as a contestant for Nick Viall’s season of The Bachelor, placing third place and later becoming the franchise’s first Black lead.
“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 résumé,” wrote Lindsay. “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. I had to be someone the viewer could accept. And I was a token until I made sure I wasn’t.”
Lindsay additionally addressed her time as The Bachelorette lead, revealing the role that the producers played throughout the series.
“‘You can’t send a Black man home,'” Lindsay claimed a producer told her when she was trying to decide who would continue fighting for her love during a rose-ceremony night.
“’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. I didn’t care that I was miked up,” Lindsay continued. “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.'”
The former Bachelorette went on to expose producers for pressuring her to tell Viall she loved him before she was ready.
“I stayed up all night and watched [Donald] Trump win. I ended up getting drunk on the date because I was so upset,” she said. “Meanwhile, the producers were pressuring me to say ‘I love you’ to Nick. I liked him, but I was not ready to express it in that way. I thought, Shit, I’m just going to say it so they leave me alone. That’s how you start to feel.”
Lindsay ended up telling Viall she was falling in love with him prior to their night in the fantasy suite, adding, “Nick said he did not want to sleep with any women because he had been so sexualized on Bachelor in Paradise. We didn’t get there, anyway. I blacked out. Nick gave me Tylenol and carried me up the stairs.”
Lindsay also revealed that there were moments producers ensured would never air, especially as they were eying Lindsay as the franchise’s next lead.
She recalled an incident with Vanessa Grimaldi, whom Viall eventually selected as his winner, during which the two were meant to discuss the clear tension between them.
“I knew the audience was going to look at me as an angry Black female,” she said, describing the scene. “I never raised my voice because I was aware of what was going on. When she started getting emotional, I knew, This is going to be bad. She’s crying; I’m not. I’m going to look cold. We did not come to any type of agreement.”
Grimaldi went as far as to label Lindsay as a bully, prompting her to tell producers, “You do not understand what it is to be a Black woman in this house full of white folks and for a white woman to cry in your face and call you a bully.”
Lindsay requested that the scene be included “in its entirety” so viewers could understand her position and her perspective, but one producer assured her, “This will never air.”
While Lindsay acknowledged producers did not show the footage in order to “protect” her, she also explained that the move was in the franchise’s best interest, as she was already set to be the next star of The Bachelorette.
“Another time, I’d had two mixed drinks, and I was out-of-my-mind wasted. Astrid [Loch] was holding my hair back in the bathroom. (I drunkenly told her, ‘You are my only real friend.’) They could have brought cameras in there. They didn’t,” she added. “I sat in the ceremony that day as Nick gave out roses, my head resting on Astrid’s shoulder. My hair was disheveled. I wasn’t always like that, but all it takes is one mess-up.”
“They could have taken those clips and depicted me as a wild Jezebel,” she wrote. “They didn’t because I would never come out on top.”
Lindsay has left the franchise altogether following her now-notorious interview with Chris Harrison, in which he defended Season 25 winner Rachael Kirkconnell amid backlash she was receiving for attending an antebellum-themed fraternity formal in 2018.
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