The “Bachelor” franchise is no stranger to controversy, and after being embroiled in a race-related scandal in recent years, the ABC dating show addressed a contestant’s controversy in the latest episode.
Greer Blitzer is a contestant on the current season of “The Bachelor,” starring Zach Shallcross. Ahead of the season premiere, Reddit user revealed earlier tweets From 2016 where Blitzer defended wearing blackface. The reality star apologized on her social media in January for the racially insensitive tweets, but the show had not yet addressed the controversy.
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On Tuesday’s episode of “The Bachelor: Women Tell All,” host Jesse Palmer put Blitzer in the hot seat and asked for feedback about her “disturbing” and “disturbing” post in front of the studio audience.
Palmer said, “The truth is that as a franchise, we have done a very poor job in the past at directly addressing serious topics, and we are not going to miss that opportunity here tonight.”
“I want to address it. I don’t want to sweep it under the rug,” Blitzer told Palmer. “What happened was racist. It’s not about intent; it’s about impact.
The scandal surrounding Blitzer came to the fore last year when the cast of “The Bachelor” season 27 was announced. In his older tweets, Blitzer defended a high school student for wearing blackface, reportedly tweeting in 2016, “The students involved didn’t even know what blackface was, so I was absolutely right. It wasn’t an intentionally racist act. Another alleged tweet read, “This last incident was dumb not racist? She didn’t black herself because she felt better than black ppl. And in another Blitzer allegedly wrote, “It’s also not good to put white powder on your face. Wasn’t this news?
On Tuesday evening’s episode, Blitzer explained, “This acquaintance of mine who knew that performing blackface was racist, my defending it was racist, my ignorance was racist and I am deeply ashamed.”
“I am deeply sorry that I hurt the black community,” she said. “I can’t go back in time. All I can do is try to be better now and try to do better in my future.”
Blitzer said she has educated herself, studying lectures and working with Dr. Kira Banks, a professor and diversity, equity and inclusion consultant. Dr. Banks was seated in the audience in “Women Tell All” and addressed the larger issue, speaking about real action versus demonstrative words.
“I really wanted to go deep into the history of blackface and understand why it was wrong, why it was offensive. From the research I was able to do, I realized it was dehumanizing the black community,” Blitzer said. “What I said was wrong,” he said. “Defending that girl was racist. I want to take that accountability, I don’t want to excuse it.
This certainly isn’t “The Bachelor”‘s first run-in with controversial contestants who have problematic pasts. Over the years, viewers have questioned the franchise’s process of background checks, especially in the age of social media.
On the most recent season of “The Bachelorette,” which aired last year, winner Erich Schwer was at the center of the controversy for wearing blackface when a picture of him from his high school yearbook surfaced online. He apologized for what he called an “insensitive photo” on social media. in an interview with Diversity“The Bachelorette” star Gabi Windy (who is no longer in a relationship with Schwer) said, “He apologized, but ultimately there’s really no excuse for this behavior.”
On Season 25 of “The Bachelor,” which stars Matt James and is set to air in 2021, a Explosive scam happened involving the winning contestant Rachel Kirkconnell, which ultimately resulted in Departure of veteran host Chris Harrison (who was then replaced with Palmer). James was the first black star of the long-running show, and fell in love with Kirkconnell, who was at the center of a racially insensitive controversy. During the season, photos from 2018 surfaced on social media showing him making an appearance at an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal. Harrison defended Kirkconnell in a now infamous TV interview, conducted by former “Bachelorette” Rachel Lindsay, the franchise’s first Black female star, where she invoked the term “woke cop”. He apologized for “speaking in a way that misrepresented racism”, but the messy situation never died down, and eventually Harrison left the franchise, (Today, James and Kirkconnell are still happily together,
And in 2017, when Lindsay’s historic season of “The Bachelor” aired as the first black lead on the franchise, one of his competitors Racist and sexist tweets surfaced on social media.
Blitzer got the first start of the season from Shallcross, meaning she was the frontrunner in the early races. She was sent home in last week’s episode, so she is no longer in the competition. She appeared in “Women Tell All”, which brings the cast (and the vicar) together to discuss the season’s drama.
Shortly after the conversation with Blitzer aired, many social media users praised Blitzer and “The Bachelor” for directly apologizing and not taking the conversation further. Others criticized the contestant for needing to speak with a DEI advisor to understand that defending blackface is racist.
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