A former Bachelor casting producer is calling out the franchise for its problematic lack of diversity
ICYMI, The Bachelor announced its first Black lead on Friday, ending a disgracefully long streak without a BIPOC at the helm (of 25 seasons, to be exact). And while that announcement was long overdue, a former casting producer has come forward to underscore that bringing James on board is a step in the right direction — but there’s still a long, long way to go.
“I am a Casting Producer who previously worked on The Bachelor and Bachelorette series for 5 seasons,” Jazzy Collins began an open letter to ABC. “During my time at The Bachelor/The Bachelorette, I was the only Black person in the casting office from when I was hired for casting the first season of a Black Bachelorette through the first four seasons I worked on afterwards.”
Collins goes on to explain that Rachel Lindsay’s season of the show was her first, and she was excited to see that they were “called on to have a very diverse cast.” Unfortunately, she soon realized the progress made with that integral season wasn’t being carried forward. “My hope was that having a racially diverse cast of gentlemen would be an important milestone that would continue into the future. That was not the case,” she wrote.
After Lindsay’s season, everything seemed to return to the “predominantly white” status quo — in front of and behind the camera. And in an extremely troubling accusation, Collins claimed that any women who looked “too black” were not chosen to participate in the franchise in favor of more “ethnically ambiguous” women. Said Collins, “Women with afros, braids, locs, etc. weren’t even given a chance because of the white standards of beauty.”
As is inexcusably often the case with BIPOC who try to speak out about systemic racism, Collins found herself being branded difficult. “Once I developed a voice for myself in the office to speak out on issues, I was hit with microaggressions, including being called ‘aggressive.’ I felt alone,” she said, adding that she only ever saw a total of three Black people in the production and post offices and that the only Black producer on The Bachelor (at that time) left shortly after she did.
So, now, Collins is using her voice to demand a diverse cast and production team moving forward.
“Not only is it important to have a diverse cast reflect what the rest of America looks like, it’s important for the production and casting teams to be able to share the same experience as the cast members,” she wrote. “You’re expecting a white team to be able to intimately produce people of color on an emotional level that they’re truly unable to relate to.”
Collins ended her letter by rightfully pointing out that BIPOC shouldn’t be expected to “stare at a crowd of white faces while they pour their heart out on national TV without also having a diverse understanding team to guide them through the process.”
OK, ABC… you’re up. The time is long overdue to do better.