Kaitlyn Bristowe Says Finale Brushed Over Erich’s Blackface
Former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe is calling out the way Erich Schwer’s blackface scandal was handled on the finale. Along with Tayshia Adams, Kaitlyn hosted both Katie Thurston and Michelle Young’s seasons of the ABC dating show. But after former Bachelor Jesse Palmer hosted Clayton Echard’s season, he was carried over for Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia’s historic run.
Before Gabby revealed that Erich was her winner, the front-runner came under fire as incidents from his past leaked. It started with the racially insensitive high school yearbook photos, which showed him posing in Blackface. After that, his former girlfriend Amanda Kaylor claimed he only joined the dating series for his career, leaking their text messages as evidence. But in the season finale, Gabby accepted Erich’s proposal and stood by him during After The Final Rose. After the episode aired, however, Kaitlyn criticized the show for not adequately condemning Erich’s history of blackface.
On Thursday, Kaitlyn took to Instagram to share her finale thoughts. She posted a lengthy caption alongside a photo of her, Becca Kufrin, and Michelle Young at the finale taping. “The show, Erich, and Gabby, had a real opportunity to use their voice and acknowledge black face,” Kaitlyn wrote, adding, “I don’t think we needed to read texts from his ex…I think we needed to continue to evolve and show up with that many people watching.” The Off The Vine host continued, “Michelle, myself, and Becca were all under the impression this would be addressed. It wasn’t and that’s not ok.” The podcaster also wrote about season 19 villain Tino Franco and praised fan favorite Grandpa John. She wished Gabby and Erich the best, while hoping they will address his racist act in the future.
Though she’s grateful for the franchise, Kaitlyn added, “I still want to hold people accountable.” She pleaded with Bachelor Nation, “listen to voices that need to be heard. That deserve to be heard. I don’t want to speak for Michelle, but I know she committed to being the lead with a promise of change.” The 37-year-old continued, “To brush over black face, and act as if we didn’t have time? What message does that send? Didn’t Rachel Lindsay already show us how important this is?” Rachel, the first Black Bachelorette, also slammed the finale. Kaitlyn’s post earned support from fans and Bachelor Nation alumni, including Catherine Lowe, DeAnna Stagliano, and Becca, whose fiancé Thomas Jacobs called out the Erich situation earlier.
The franchise has long been criticized for racial insensitivity and lacking diversity. The efforts to change have been deemed inadequate and surface-level. Rachel tried to call attention to issues and make a difference before ultimately leaving Bachelor Nation. The first and so far only Black male lead Matt James also slammed the show afterwards. Producers got backlash for casting Clayton to follow-up Matt, especially after Michelle’s season aired. Fans were roundly unimpressed by Clayton and pointed out the BIPOC contestants who could’ve been picked instead.
By not confronting Erich more over his Blackface, the show continued to take steps back. But fans won’t stop calling producers out and demanding change. Hopefully, the messages from viewers, Kaitlyn, and other prominent Bachelor Nation members will be heard and followed by meaningful actions.
The Bachelorette is available to stream on Hulu.
Source: Kaitlyn Bristowe/Instagram