The Bachelor producers have broken their silence to condemn the harassment and bullying Rachel Lindsay has received from Bachelor Nation after her controversial interview with Chris Harrison — in which he defended Matt James' frontrunner contestant Rachael Kirkconnell after social media users allegedly found racially charged photos of her from 2018.
Lindsay, 35 — who was the first Black lead in Bachelor and Bachelorette history — reportedly deleted her Instagram last week after being cyber bullied for confronting Harrison and his statements.
“As Executive Producers of The Bachelor Franchise we would like to make it perfectly clear that any harassment directed towards Rachel Lindsay in the aftermath of her interview with Chris Harrison is completely inexcusable,” the Bachelor Nation Twitter account shared in a statement on Monday, March 1, during the "Women Tell All" episode.
"Rachel has received an unimaginable amount of hate and has been subjected to severe online bullying, which, more often than not, has been rooted in racism. That is totally unacceptable," the statement continued. "Rachel has been an incredible advocate for our cast and we are grateful that she has worked tirelessly towards racial equity and inclusion."
After the controversial interview, Harrison issued an apology to Lindsay and the public before sharing that he will temporarily be stepping aside as host to get "educated." Lindsay approved of the long-time host's decision to take time to "understand what was done, what was wrong, and what he said in that interview."
Lindsay's "Higher Learning" podcast co-host Van Lathan has since shared that the backlash from her interview with Harrison caused her to take a break from social media.
"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," he stated. "Rachel is not responsible for Chris Harrison, a 49-year-old man who can't read the room in these present 2021 times."
Lathan noted: "If you are choosing to rather spread hate, to send cruel, vicious messages, to be mad about people being hurt by racism…do better. Be better," before adding that "she does not deserve the hate she is receiving."
Following Harrison's temporary step down, OK! learned that Emmanuel Acho will replace Harrison as host for "The Bachelor: After The Final Rose" special.
And according to an OK! source, there is even behind-the-scenes talk of having Harrison make a surprise appearance on the special for an interview with Acho.
"Chris is going to have to do an interview at some point to explain his 'uniformed' and 'unacceptable' interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay on Extra," the source dished. "What better place than to do this on the After the Final Rose special? If Emmanuel Acho can forgive Chris on live TV, then so can Bachelor Nation."