Last week, two black men from Tennessee filed a class-action lawsuit alleging purposeful discrimination against non-whites by ABC during The Bachelor and Bachelorette casting processes. ABC released a statement calling the suit “baseless and without merit,” but we wanted to get a fuller picture of what goes on behind-the-scenes. Wetpaint Entertainment speaks exclusively with Bachelor Nation members Erica Rose, William Holman, and a long-winded (and very thoughtful) David Good about whether or not they witnessed discrimination during their time with ABC. Here’s what they had to say:
"From my knowledge and experience the Bachelor Producers and ABC executives who I've become close with over the last 6 years are completely colorblind, as are the contestants. We would welcome anyone of any color or religion to the show. I think that they cast based on the preferences of the Bachelor or Bachelorette and it is up to that person who they keep around. I know there was diversity on my season and I think Bachelor Borghese was open-minded in that regard as I would be too if I were the Bachelorette."
"At every point of contact with anyone at NZK productions you are always kept secluded from everyone else. So I don't know how anyone would be able to say if people were singled out. Unless you are in an open-casting call environment and notice. These two gentlemen feel singled out and if they feel wronged then that is understandable. I can understand if you want people to be aware of a show discriminating, but to sue for damages doesn't seem right. I think it’s more embarrassing to be on the show. I personally would like to see more diversity on the show."
"I have actually had that convo with several producers and I see both sides. You have to look at it from both sides and use clear, ethical judgment and understanding and not emotional thought. The target audience that has been established is a middle American white audience. Just like you would not put a white guy as the headliner on BET, they have been reluctant as to putting a person of color on The Bachelor. It's not that ABC is racist in my eyes, it is just a business decision knowing they could lose a lot of what they have established for a minimal gain because you have to look at the numbers. I also see the other side and that a person of color has never been in the spotlight on the show and if you were a person of color and a fan of the show that would be very frustrating. I think they need to understand the reasons ABC has for not doing so. It's a very large show on a very large network and they work with numbers and facts not feelings and emotions. There are roughly 230 million white Americans as compared to roughly 40 million black Americans. That is a difference of 190 million! It would be great to say right here "well why can't we just add those numbers together because black and white people all think the same and watch the same shows right?" We all know that is not true. I have yet in 30 years walked into a black friends house and see him or her watching or even asking about The Bachelor (even if they knew I was on it and, vice versa, in 30 years have yet to walk into one of my white friends homes and them have on BET). I don't care either way. I am just saying look at the numbers and see what you think. Why don't they ask these guys suing if they had worked hard for the last 10 years building something great and a large franchise if they would take a chance at losing it or millions of dollars to appease a fraction of the possible audience. Is it fair? No, it may not be fair. However, if you take a sec and look around you will see real quick life is not fair and right now I truly believe it has nothing to do with racism but simply numbers and money and a business decision based on those two factors. These two things are what drive every business in America - black or white. It's ok to want to support your gender, race or color without using racism. That's what this comes down to. I don't think it is racist to say I don't watch BET. I don't. It's because I don't relate or share a lot of the same interest. THAT IS OK. Your not a racist if you're black and don't watch The Bachelor either. It should not be a race thing. It's simply a numbers game. I promise you this right now: if ABC thought there was any way they could make money putting a person of color on their show, they would do it 10x over. Guaranteed 100%, its not a racist issue, its just business!"