Rachel Lindsay—who, as the first Black woman to ever serve as the titular Bachelorette, has found herself frequently placed in the position of critiquing, mediating, and bringing to light the franchise’s multiple problems regarding race—has now disabled her Instagram account, after “fans” of the show became toxic and abusive toward her. This, in the wake of the controversy currently surrounding the controversy-prone reality series, as long-time host Chris Harrison announced he was “stepping aside” from the show for a time in the wake of an interview with Lindsay in which he went far out on the defensive on behalf of a contestant who was photographed participating in a “Plantation Party” invoking the tropes and aesthetics of the slave-owning Antebellum South.
In her role as an Extra correspondent, Lindsay walked, with aplomb, an incredibly complex tightrope in that interview, one that Black woman are often demanded to perform—coming off simultaneously as a moral voice of well-earned outrage, a cool and objective assessor of the issues on display, and a warm and likable TV presence. (Harrison, meanwhile, rambled about the “woke police” and tried to insist that nobody knew not to dress up like a slave owner in 2018.) All of which apparently earned her, for her trouble, the dispiriting but not unexpected tide of online abuse that followed.
Per Variety, Lindsay’s departure from social media was announced by her podcast co-host Van Lathan, who noted on his own social media that his friend “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 also took some shots at Harrison, dubbing him “a 49-year-old man who can’t read the room in these present 2021 times.”)
Rachael Kirkconnell, the Bachelor contestant whose photographs began this latest iteration of The Bachelor: Still Has Trouble With Race, Huh?, has since joined numerous other voices from the franchise, asking fans not to attack Lindsay for her reasonable interrogation of both Kirkconnell’s own actions, and Harrison’s statements.
There’s no word yet on when, if ever, Harrison is expected to return to the franchise.