This may come as a surprise to you, but The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise isn’t noted for featuring a melting pot of diversity.
Shocking, we know.
A pair of African-American football players are leading a group of Nashville residents in a class-action lawsuit charging the ABC dating series with racial discrimination. In a suit to be filed in Tennessee on Wednesday, Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson charge that ABC, production companies Warner Horizon Television, Next Entertainment, NZK Productions and Bachelor executive producer Mike Fleiss have systematically worked to keep persons of color from being featured as the main Bachelor or Bachelorette over the past 23 seasons.
“One plaintiff is Nathaniel Claybrooks, a former college football player who most recently played for the minor league Nashville Storm team. The other is Christopher Johnson, described in the news release only as ‘an aspiring National Football League player.’ Claybrooks and Johnson, both African-Americans, will seek class-action status for the suit, their lawyers said. The Nashville residents will talk to reporters Wednesday about their lawsuit, they said.”
Black sportscaster Lamar Hurd filmed a YouTube plea in hopes of being cast as the next Bachelor, no word yet from Fleiss. In 2011, Entertainment Weekly asked the producer whether the show would ever feature someone who wasn’t white. He responded with:
“I think [then Bachelorette] Ashley [Herbert] is 1/16th Cherokee Indian, but I cannot confirm. But that is my suspicion! We really tried, but sometimes we feel guilty of tokenism. Oh, we have to wedge African-American chicks in there! We always want to cast for ethnic diversity, it’s just that for whatever reason, they don’t come forward. I wish they would.”