Bachelor season causes worldwide scandal

Ava Jurick and Sophia Golberg

The Bachelor Franchise has been releasing the reality shows “Bachelor,”and “Bachelorette” since the year 2002. Each year around 30 contestants are chosen to appear on the show, hoping to find love. In doing so, the contestants allow themselves to be critiqued by millions; watching each step of their journey for entertainment purposes.

The viewers, referring to themselves as “Bachelor Nation,” do not hesitate to look into each and every one of the contestants in order to determine their true character. Many of the women have stated how difficult it is to be on the show when their past can easily be revealed to the world. Constantly, the women and men are put in the spotlight and are filmed in their most vulnerable state.

If deemed acceptable, many of these contestants go on to live more lavish lives than they had before appearing on a Bachelor or Bachelorette season. Often becoming social media influencers, the Bachelor franchise makes way for life-changing career-related opportunities. However, if a contestant has a somewhat questionable or offensive past, Bachelor nation ensures that they are held responsible.

This year’s Bachelor, Matt James, has become one of the most popular and beloved men in Bachelor history. However, his season has sparked some of the most questionable actions and words from once deemed unproblematic host, Chris Harrison.

This all began with Rachael Kirkconnel, an early frontrunner in the current season of the Bachelor. As soon as the season was released, Kirkconncel’s past resurfaced and she was accused of liking racist photos and attending a plantation-themed party during her college years.

This in turn led to a live conversation between Chris Harrison and a previous Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay. Since appearing on the franchise, Lindsay has continued to advocate for a more diverse and inclusive cast. Her efforts have not been ignored and have helped sparked changes within the franchise such as incorporating more diverse women and men on the new seasons. 

During the discussion, Harrison continued to defend contestant Kirkconnel which shocked many fans. Lindsay continued to explain the problem during the interview, but Harrison’s comments sparked concern. This conversation sheds light on Harrison’s views on Kirkonell’s actions and puts his character into question. 

Lindsay reminded Harrison that being included in a picture at a 2018 old South Antebellum party was not a good look. Harrison argued by questioning whether they should judge Kirkconnel when society was not as vocal about racial issues at the time. Lindsay responded by saying that whether the picture was taken yesterday or 20 years ago, it was still extremely offensive.

This event led to Chris Harrison stepping aside from the remainder of this season after receiving backlash for his ignorance and disrespect to those offended by Kirkonell’s actions.  

Harrison later went on to apologize for his actions. After 20 years as the Bachelor host, he has stepped down from the job due to racist allegations. However, it was only after those associated with the franchise spoke out on their disbelief and anger at what Chris Harrison had said. 

“I think that Chris being the figurehead had an opportunity to unite people, to bring people together, to make people feel good within the show and he did an absolutely terrible job,” former Bachelorette contestant Mike Johnson said in an interview with another former contestant, Bryan Abasolo.

The Bachelor has consistently been criticized for its lack of diversity. This scandal just shone the light on the issue of racism within the network.