‘Bachelor’ alumni, fans call for ABC to increase franchise’s diversity
Fans and former stars of the hit reality TV “Bachelor” franchise are calling on the show and its spinoffs to cast more contestants of color in a new campaign.
The Bachelor Diversity Campaign was started Monday by 10 viewers of the show who connected through Facebook, USA Today reported.
The campaign has launched a petition making 13 demands, including casting a black man as the star of the next season of “The Bachelor.” The petition, which has been signed by more than 57,000 people as of Tuesday afternoon, also calls for casting at least 35 percent nonwhite contestants.
Former “Bachelorette” star Rachel Lindsay is the only black person to ever serve as a lead on the franchise.
She and more than a dozen other former contestants and leads have supported the petition, including JoJo Fletcher, Ben Higgins, Arie Luyendyk Jr., Tyler Cameron, Bibiana Julian, Alayah Benavidez, Mykenna Dorn, Amanda Stanton and Ashley Spivey.
The campaign also calls on individuals signing the petition to “show zero tolerance for racism” and support contestants of color on the show.
“Representation matters, and it is one of the most important ways our country can embrace its diversity and evolve,” the petition says.
Diggy Moreland, a former contestant on the show, tweeted Monday, “I can’t believe we have to FORCEFULLY ask them for this.”
— Diggy Moreland (@diggymoreland) June 8, 2020
Lindsay said in a blog post published Monday that she decided to star on the series because “I knew that I wanted to present myself to an audience that had not seen a lead of color in this role. I knew that I wanted to be a trailblazer in this franchise to diversify the lead role, to diversify the contestants trying out and casted for the show, and to diversify the audience watching this show.”
However, she added that “I am sad to say that after almost four years in this franchise, we still don’t have the diversity that this show needs, and that our audience deserves.”
Lindsay has called for Mike Johnson, a former black contestant on “The Bachelorette,” to be cast as the lead on “The Bachelor.”
The Hill has reached out to ABC for comment.
The petition comes as protests have erupted across the country over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd, an unarmed black man, died last month after a former police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.