On Saturday, Hannah went live on Instagram, telling fans that she was trying to learn the words to a new song for a TikTok dance. The track belonged to Da Baby, a popular rap artist famous for his catchy but raunchy lyrics. As the former Bachelorette tried to follow along with the lyrics, she let the n-word slip. Fans caught the slip-up and told Hannah as much in the comments. After initially laughing off the mistake, the reality star issued a brief formal apology on her Instagram story the next day.
“I owe you all a major apology. There is no excuse and I will not justify what I said,” Hannah wrote. “I have read your messages and seen the hurt I have caused. I own it all. I am terribly sorry and know that whether in public or private, this language is unacceptable. I promise to do better.”
But fellow Bachelor alum Rachel Lindsay had a few thoughts on the matter, responding to Hannah’s mistake and subsequent apology in an IGTV video. Rachel, the franchise’s only Black lead in its 18-year run, said that she definitely felt pressure to speak up about what happened.
“I hate that I have to do this,” she clarified in the video. “I never wanted to speak on this. I never wanted to say anything. I’m honestly tired of feeling like I have to be the one to speak because other people won’t.”
“It’s easy to make a statement, it’s easy to hide behind words, but when you’re bold enough to say the n-word on camera, on your platform...then you need to be bold enough to use your face on camera and apologize in the same way that you said the word,” Rachel explained to the masses.
As stans flooded Rachel's comments with fiery and thoroughly misguided defense of their fave ("She apologized already! It's just a word! Why can Black people say it if we can't?"), other members of Bachelor Nation didn't hesitate to speak up. Bekah Martinez was one of the first Bachelor Nation figures to react to the now-viral video, and she didn't mince words.
"You can’t say the N-word because black people say it," she shared on her Instagram story on Sunday. "Black people reclaimed the use of a word that was used for centuries to oppress and dehumanize them...so no, it’s not cool to just sing it along the lyrics of a song especially not ON YOUR PLATFORM WITH MILLIONS OF FOLLOWERS?!!"
Tyler Cameron fully agreed with Rachel, telling fans that blind defense of Hannah was part of the bigger issue at hand.
"This is not about dragging HB," Tyler posted on his Instagram story. "This is about using your platform for reasons like this — so we can educate people who don't get it...this is a societal problem."
"Rachel hit the nail on the head,” he continued. “Y’all need to go look at the comments. We have a long ways to go on this issue and a lot to learn. If you find yourself getting defensive, you are part of the problem.
"She shouldn't have used the n-word," added Mike Johnson, a fellow contestant from Hannah's season. "It's pretty damn simple to me."
Of course Nick Viall, the president of Bachelor Nation's peanut gallery, had something to say — but he was actually right on the money this time: “There is no excuse. Period. Super sad and disappointing to see.”
For a television franchise notorious for its demonstrable race problem — remember Rachel's season of The Bachelorette? — it's a pleasant surprise to see so many of its stars standing up for what's right. In 2020, we shouldn't have to explain why use of that word by anyone who isn't Black is inappropriate, but here we are. Hopefully, Hannah takes the feedback from her peers to heart in order to learn and grow from this experience.