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Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay Addresses Racism and Online Bullying on 'The Bachelor: Women Tell All'

Gettyimages | David Becker
By Jenna Cartusciello

“Tonight is ‘Women Tell All’ but it’s also much more than that because we use our platforms for something bigger than us.”

These are the words of former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, who took to Instagram hours before the “Bachelor” special aired on live TV.

Lindsay has voiced concerns over the “Bachelor” franchise in the past, but last night’s episode felt different. The tone was incredibly serious as longtime host Chris Harrison welcomed her to the stage. She addressed racist, online bullying head on.

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Social Media Harassment Has Been Horrible for Contestants

Giphy | The Bachelor

According to Harrison, online bullying has exploded over the most recent seasons. Lindsay stoically addressed the issue in front of the audience and a live camera. She admitted that it is “sadly something most of us have experienced.”

She went on to explain her reasoning:

“By not talking about it, I think people feel empowered that they can continue to say certain things to us … if we’re ever going to fix this problem, we have to acknowledge the problem.”

Lindsay Read Hate Comments Aloud

Gettyimages | Jamie McCarthy

With this in mind, Lindsay announced that she would be reading some of the hate comments directed toward Peter Weber’s contestants.

In a powerful moment, the studio became extremely quiet. The only sounds came from crying contestants and audience members as Lindsay read the comments, which were also posted on a screen.

The contestants, who were shouting at each other mere moments before, came together in a show of strength.

Contestant Shiann mentioned, “You have to like set your DMs to have filters for certain words so you don’t see them.”

Rachel Lindsay Faced Racial Hate as “The Bachelorette”

Gettyimages | Prince Williams

It’s difficult to fault Rachel Lindsay. She’s a well-spoken, accomplished attorney and media personality. Her season of the “Bachelorette” resulted in a successful engagement and marriage. Her opinions might rub people the wrong way, but for all the right reasons.

Lindsay explained,

“When I was asked to be the Bachelorette, I knew it would be hard. I knew that I would get even more hate and criticism. But I wanted to pave a way for women who look like me, who hadn’t been represented in this role on this show.”

Unfortunately, Lindsay is continually faulted for the color of her skin, something she “cannot change.” Her season of the “Bachelorette” was even made fun of by previous contestants, one of whom joked that it looked like “Love & Hip Hop,” the VH1 reality show.

The Bachelor Franchise Still Has Work to Do

Gettyimages | VALERIE MACON

Though the “Bachelor” franchise took a step in the right direction on Monday by addressing online bullying and harassment, there is more to be done.

Lindsay still holds the title of the only black “Bachelorette” since Clare Crawley was recently named the next series lead. And the "Bachelor” has yet to cast another man of color since Juan Pablo Galavis in season 18.

Still, Lindsay has high hopes. On Instagram, she wrote, "tonight, we stop ignoring a problem and start acknowledging it.”

As she mentioned on last night's episode, “this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

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