Bachelor Nation wants ABC to know they're not exempt from the Black Lives Matter reckoning that is holding institutions, publications, and society as a whole accountable for the systematic racism that's infected them. The death of George Floyd spurred action in the form of protests, calls to defund the police, and petitions — including this one created by The Bachelor and Bachelorette viewers calling for the show to finally take actionable steps towards fixing its diversity issue.
Both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have each only had one non-white star — Juan Pablo Galavis and Rachel Lindsay, respectively. While the initial pool of contestants has more recently attempted better representation, often the diverse candidates are eliminated over time until mostly white contenders remain. On the past five season of The Bachelor, Tayshia Adams, Rachel Lindsay, and Caila Quinn were the only women of colour to make it to the final three, and Eric Bigger the only man of colour to make it to the finale three in the past five seasons of The Bachelorette.
"As creators of one of the most popular and influential franchises on television, ABC and Warner Bros. have an opportunity and responsibility to feature Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) relationships, families, and storylines," the petition description reads.
Some of the demands on the petition include casting a Black Bachelor as the season 25 lead, casting BIPOC for at least 35% of contestants going forward, better vetting of the white contestants for their frequently racist pasts, and ensuring there is representation behind the camera as well.
Over 50 thousand people have signed the petition so far, including alums Rachel Lindsay, JoJo Fletcher, Ben Higgins, Arie Luyendyk Jr., Desiree Siegfried, Tyler Cameron, Bibiana Julian, Dustin Kendrick, Olivia Caridi, Onyeka Ehie, Devin Harris, Alayah Benavidez, Mykenna Dorn, Amanda Stanton, and Ashley Spivey, according to USA Today.
This shouldn't come as a shock to the series, which has frequently faced criticism for it heavily-white crop of leads and contestants. Chris Harrison was called out for it as recently as last month, and Rachel Lindsay even appeared on Women Tell All last season to confront to racism and hate in the fanbase — after she had already called out Bachelor Nation for not being "ready" for more diversity.
With this petition, Bachelor Nation is proving that the progressive, anti-racist side of its community can be even louder than its detractors, and hopefully create actual change in the franchise. ABC did not immediately respond to Refinery29's request for comment.