It is 2017 and things seem to be going relatively well for The Bachelorette’s first black contestant, Rachel Lindsay. With both those things it mind, it was therefore only a matter of time before racist tweets from one of her suiters surfaced because yes, that sounds about right.
In the tweets, Nashville resident Lee Garrett expresses hatred for Islam, liberals and links to racist articles.
The tweets include a link to articles titled “Thousands sign petition to recognize #blacklivesmatter as terrorist group after Dallas,” “Newly released video DESTROYS liberal narrative on Alton Sterling shooting” and this incoherent opinion: “Hillary is the millenial’s version of O.J.”
Who here is shocked? Please, raise your hand and reveal your beautiful, beautiful naiveté. More than anything, I find this unsurprising and also irritating because so far, I’ve found this idiot to be a rather entertaining presence, in that he has provided some pretty solid color commentary about the events of the show.
This, of course, is exactly the type of shit many people expected to happen with the franchise’s first black lead. Still, the way the show has and has not addressed race has been somewhat interesting in the only two episodes that have aired. When contestant Dean greeted Rachel at a pre-show special, he opened with the line: “I’m ready to go black and I’m never going to go back.” This seemed like an omen of many more cringe-inducing comments from white people to come. Earlier this season, ABC deleted a quote on its website from another contestant, Bryce, for being transphobic.
In this week’s episode, the two have a conversation about the joke with Rachel explaining she was only upset because she, inexplicably, wanted to be the one to make that stupid ass joke first.
Rachel is clearly a smart woman and I have to imagine she’s aware of the “twice as good standard” she’s faced with. I’d guess she feels pressure to be an affable, entertaining root for-able character and also understands the importance of keeping the show’s ratings high. She and ABC seem as though they’re treading carefully not to scare away white viewers who might still be iffy about this whole thing. It’s also not hard to imagine how easy it would be to explain away never having a non-white Bachelor or Bachelorette again if this season doesn’t do well ratings-wise.
But back to the dumbass. Honestly, looking back at some of the answers in his bio, we probably should have seen this coming much sooner:
What are your top all-time favorite movies? Gone with the Wind, Inglourious Basterds, and Scarface
What’s the most embarrassing style you’ve rocked? Hip hop type, baggy clothes in middle school. Embarrassing. Echo, FUBU, Air Force Ones? Whatttt? No.
Lee’s Twitter account is now locked which is not the action of an innocent man or someone whose words were simply misconstrued or taken out of context.
In addition to wondering why someone who doesn’t seem to care too much about black people would want to date a black woman (though it’s not too difficult to figure out), you have to ponder how much vetting the producers did here. I’d be shocked if they didn’t go through the social media profiles of potential cast members and a smart person, or at least a person of color with common sense, likely would have searched for exactly these kinds of red flags.
The most likely scenario here is that the producers did know about Lee’s tweets—or at least had an idea about his views—and cast him on the show anyway because they need drama and/or were really into the storyline on the last season of UnREAL where a confederate flag wearing redneck was matched with a black suitor.
ABC declined to comment and referred Jezebel to a representative from the show’s production company, Warner Horizon. We will update the post if we receive a comment from them.