The Bachelor racism controversy just keeps getting uglier. Following an influx of “rude, hateful” messages, Rachel Lindsay disabled her Instagram account on Friday, Feb. 26. The former Bachelorette’s Higher Learning co-host, Van Lathan, explained her exit in a video, saying that Lindsay was driven off the social media platform by all of the online abuse directed at her since she criticized Chris Harrison and Rachael Kirkconnell.
“My co-host on Higher Learning, Rachel Lindsay, disabled her Instagram earlier today,” Lathan said at the beginning of his video. “She did it because that’s how much hate she’s getting from Bachelor fans, who are spamming her with all kinds of rude, hateful things to say.”
After Lathan told Lindsay’s harassers to “get a f*cking life,” he alluded to the TV personality’s now-infamous Extra interview with Chris Harrison. In the exchange, Harrison defended Bachelor Season 25 contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s past racist actions, leading to serious backlash, including criticism from Lindsay. The longtime Bachelor/ette host later admitted he was wrong to speak “in a manner that perpetuates racism” and has stepped aside from his role for the foreseeable future. And yet some fans have blamed Lindsay instead, so Lathan wanted to make sure they knew that wasn’t OK.
“Rachel is not responsible for Chris Harrison, a 49-year-old man who can’t read the room in these present 2021 times,” Lathan said. “She’s not responsible for that. It’s not her job to make excuses or provide cover for somebody who doesn’t understand what the f*ck triggers people in today’s world.”
Lindsay, the first Black bachelorette, has been one of Bachelor Nation’s biggest advocates for racial justice since 2017, and filling that role has taken a heavy toll. Soon after her interview with Harrison, she and Lathan discussed her experience during a Higher Learning episode, and she told him she originally signed on to The Bachelorette “to be a representative as a Black woman to this audience.” After Harrison’s remarks, however, she asked herself, “How much more of this can I take?” She shared her plans to cut ties with the franchise, telling Lathan, “I’m f*cking tired. I’m exhausted. I have truly had enough.”
While Lindsay has clearly had to deal with more than her fair share of online abuse, she does have numerous members of Bachelor Nation in her corner. The women of Bachelor Season 25, for example, released a joint statement denouncing “any defense of racism.” They specifically celebrated Lindsay, noting that she “continues to advocate with ‘grace’ for individuals who identify as BIPOC within this franchise.”
“Just because she is speaking the loudest, doesn’t mean she is alone,” the statement concluded. “We stand with her, we hear her, and we advocate for change alongside her.”
Lathan, of course, is also among her supporters. “It’s The Bachelor,” he reminded fans in his video. “It’s not worth harassing somebody over.”