'The Bachelor' asks viewers to stop bullying contestants

Posted March 3, 2020 11:37 a.m. EST

— "The Bachelor" franchise took a moment during one of its specials to address a serious issue.

Rachel Lindsay, who was season 13's "Bachelorette," led a bit of a public service announcement about the online hate and bullying contestants sometimes get.

"I feel like you guys hear us talk about the hate that we receive, but you have no idea what it is," said Lindsay during "The Women Tell All" special Monday on ABC. "The only way I can actually make you feel it is for you to see it."

She then shared some of the messages the women on this season of "The Bachelor" have received, calling them "graphic," "explicit" and "shocking."

The harsh things that were written moved both Lindsay and some of the women contestants to tears.

"You're an emotional stupid (b----)," read one message that was projected onto a screen. "Kill yourself. You're useless."

Lindsay, who made history as the first black "Bachelorette," clearly struggled to read the comments out loud.

"I'm, like, shaking as I'm reading this because it's shocking, it's uncomfortable," said Lindsay, who also cohosts "Bachelor Happy Hour," the show's official podcast. "I know it's uncomfortable for you to see. Just imagine how uncomfortable it is to get this in your comments and your DMs every day, every week, every month."

Franchise host Chris Harrison also weighed in.

"Clearly, what we're talking about isn't criticism," he said. "This is hate."

All of the women from this season's "Bachelor" raised their hands when asked if they had received such messages.

Tammy, a 24-year-old house flipper who had some contentious run-ins with other contestants as she competed this season for Peter Weber's heart, said she was afraid to even pick up her phone because of the vitriol she received.

"I was getting death threats," she said. "My work email would be, 'Hey, I want to buy a house,' when it was actually a paragraph about how I should go kill myself."

On social media, there were some complaints from those who found it hypocritical that a show that often includes contestants treating each other badly would take viewers to task for bullying.

Alexa, a 27-year-old esthetician from this season, said she'd been criticized for her natural hair but chose to instead focus on the positive messages she had received from viewers.

"I had so much love come in, and it meant so much to get messages from people saying it's important to have representation and thank you," she said. "(The hate) is a lot louder; you just can't listen to that negativity."

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