The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have had 40 seasons combined. Out of 40, there has been only one Black lead.
On June 5, Rachel Lindsay, the dating show's first-ever Black Bachelorette, spoke out about the show's lack of diversity, noting, "It's embarrassing, honestly," to be affiliated with the franchise at this point.
“We have now casted [sic] for 40 seasons—even though they haven’t started Clare [Crawley’s],” she said in the interview with Page Six amid worldwide Black Lives Matter protests. “There’s been one person of color in 40 seasons. We have 45 presidents. There has been one person of color. We are literally on par to saying that you are more likely to become the president of the United States than you are to be the lead of this franchise. That is insane."
That same day, the Bachelor Diversity Campaign—which was started by a group of diverse fans on Brett's Bachelor Buds Facebook group—launched on Instagram with the help of Brett Vergara. The group shares a mission to increase BIPOC representation within the Bachelor franchise. On June 8, the organization announced its plan and demands for the ABC dating series. "40 seasons. 18 years. 1 Black lead," the text post reads. "It's time. #BIPOCBachelor."
"IT’S TIME. Join us in asking ABC for a #BIPOCBachelor," the post continues "Bachelor Nation is ready for change. Link in bio to sign our petition asking for active anti-racism within the Bachelor franchise, both in front and behind the camera. Screenshot your signed petition, tag @bachdiversity, and use #BIPOCBachelor."
Their demands for Warner Bros. and ABC Network include casting a Black Bachelor for season 25, casting a minimum 35% of BIPOC contestants each season, and vetting contestants thoroughly for past racism and prejudice.
But they're not asking for just those at the top to step up. They're also calling on Bachelor Nation contestants, alum, and fans to make a pledge.
"[The Bachelor Diversity Campaign] started initially as a thread expressing frustration over the franchise’s historic lack of representation, especially as leads," Vergara said to Glamour over email. "As for what inspired this campaign, it’s incredibly jarring going into this season of Bachelor: Greatest of All Time, which will go on to feature mostly, if not all, white leads...out of 40 leads. In the times we’re in, that lack of representation is only magnified."
"The petition calls for multiple actionable steps that ABC/Warner Bros, we believe, can take to make their franchise more inclusive and representative of the world we live in," he continued. "This campaign, as of now, does not call for a boycott. Rather, we simply want this franchise we’ve grown to love to connect and represent more of the people we love. We’d consider this campaign a success if the steps (hopefully as many as possible) listed in the petition are taken—and I’m confident ABC can implement these changes."
Vergara also states that the Bachelor Diversity Campaign is open to speaking with production further. So far, Bachelor Nation alums Tyler Cameron, Olivia Caridi, Mel Taevin, Bibiana Julian, Seinne Fleming, Dustin Kendrick, Onyeka Ehie, Lacey Mark, and Kirpa Sudick have shown their support and shared the petition.
Glamour has reached out to Warner Bros. for comment and will update this post once we receive a response.
Originally Appeared on Glamour