BACHELOR alum LaNease Adams has claimed she was hospitalized with “severe anxiety and depression” after suffering “racism” on the show’s very first season.
The actress, 42, and three other Black contestants from different seasons have spoken out about their experiences on the popular franchise.
LaNease appeared on the very first series of Bachelor back in 2002 and says she has mixed feelings about her time on the show.
While describing the women she shared a house with as “lovely” and “lifelong friends,” the racist criticism she received online in newly formed fan forums and chat rooms severely damaged her mental health.
Speaking in an interview with BuzzFeed News, Adams claims her anxiety and depression got so bad following the show that she had to self-medicate with anxiety pills.
At one point things got so hard for the 42-year-old she had to be hospitalized.
She told the news site: “I ended up in the hospital, because I let everybody [online commentators] tell me who I was. Like, ‘Why is this Black girl here?’ And: ‘You're not good enough.’
“I was letting everybody tell me who I was. And that sent me to the hospital. So I had to realize: I got to tell myself who I am.”
Adams also revealed in the interview that following her time on the show, her photo appeared on a white supremacist website, with strangers calling her “disgusting” for dating the Bachelor.
“You're just trying to have fun and do a dating show. But yet your character has to be torn down just because of the color of your skin,” she added.
“Not because of something you said or because of something you did, strictly because you were born a certain race. It's like, Oh, you're not good enough.”
While LaNease feels her racism came from viewers, other contestants from the show have claimed it was actually the other competitors that made racist comments.
BuzzFeed News also spoke to season 12 star Marshana Ritchie, 39, who appeared on the show in 2008 and became the first Black woman to make it to the final six since the show began.
As the hometown dates were approaching and each would get to introduce Bachelor Matt Grant to their friends and families, Ritchie claims one of the other contestants asked her “in all sincerity” – “So do you know your father?”
Ritchie says this was just one of the many heartless, racist comments she experienced.
Her parents, who had been married at the time for 35 years, didn’t get to meet Grant in the end as Ritchie went out before it got to her turn.
Jubilee Sharpe, who went on the show in 2015 for the 20th season, was just 23 when she took part.
Sharpe says that two of the other women were biracial and there were other women of color, but she was the only woman who, as she put it, “capital B Black.”
She told BuzzFeed News: “I felt like a zoo animal. I felt like an exotic zoo animal … I wasn’t like all the other animals in the zoo, so people who would ooh and aah at me, but it wasn’t … it’s fascination, like I’m the unknown.”
Taylor Nolan, another of the interviewees, appeared on the show in 2017 where she received racist abuse, death threats, and was called a “swamp monster” and the n-word online.
Nolan, who just before that season had graduated with a degree in mental health counseling, was reported to the Department of Health, by a stranger, asking them to revoke her mental health professional license.
The Sun approached ABC for a comment on the accusations raised in the article.
Just recently, the Bachelor came under fire once again after it's host Chris Harrison, 49, “defended” contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, 24, in an interview with Rachel Lindsay.
Rachael has been slammed for her social media history which showed photos of her wearing a Native American costume.
The 24-year-old was also blasted by fans for 2018 photos of her which show her attending a controversial "Old South" party.
In a February 9, interview with Rachel – the first Black lead in franchise Bachelorette history – Chris said: “We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion.
“Because I've seen some stuff online… again, this 'judge, jury, executioner' thing where people are just tearing this girl's life apart."
When Lindsay told Harrison the photo was "not a good look," Harrison asked her, "Is it a good look in 2018? Or, is it not a good look in 2021? Because there's a big difference."
Harrison has since stepped aside and new host Emmanuel Acho will present After The Final Rose segment of the show.
Meanwhile, former Bachelorette stars Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will take over hosting duties for the next season of the reality show, Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment announced on March 12.
Harrison apologized for his words during an interview with GMA, where he said: "Antebellum parties are not ok, past, present, future. Knowing what that represents is unacceptable."
And as for his interview with Rachel, he said: "I am saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was in that interview with Rachel Lindsay. I can't believe I didn't speak against antebellum parties, what they stand for.
"I stand against all forms of racism, and I am deeply sorry to Rachel Lindsay and to the Black community."
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