After being The Bachelorette three years ago, Rachel Lindsay's life has drastically changed. In addition to getting married and family planning, the reality show star has made many appearances for the franchise that started it all. But tonight was different. Speaking about internet hate, she led The Bachelor cast in a discussion about bullying on "Women Tell All," and it is one of the most important conversations I've ever seen since the series first aired in 2002.
For a show that centers around love, the contestants face a lot of hate. Chris Harrison started the serious conversation on the reunion special, saying, "There is a line that has been crossed, and it's time to address that."
Things got emotional as Rachel Lindsay took the Hot Seat to share with viewers some of what she, as well as other contestants in the franchise, face when their lives are thrust into the spotlight by entering the Bachelor universe.
“People have become so comfortable being mean," the 34-year-old confessed as she shared with the audience something that had never fully been addressed by the series — at least not in this capacity — before. “People have become empowered, thinking they can say certain things to us."
The former contestant went on to read some of the hate-filled messages she and other contestants have received on their social media posts and in their DMs. She got extremely emotional and with tears streaming down her face said, "I'm shaking as I'm reading this. It's shocking."
As the first black woman chosen as the lead on The Bachelorette, Rachel sais she wants to lead the way to end the hate for future leads and contestants who join the cast. "When you're bullied for the way that you were born or the color of your skin," she said. "That's not a choice and that's something you can't change."
Chris Harrison then turned to the rest of the contestants and asked who among them had experienced hate. Every single woman in attendance raised their hands.
Tammy Ly, who was eliminated in Week 6, shared: "I was so afraid to even pick up my phone, because people were saying such nasty things to me. I was getting death threats [sent to] my work email."
Through tears, Sydney Hightower added: "None of us are perfect, but none of us deserve this."
While the conversation was hard, it was completely necessary — not only to raise awareness, but to build strength.
"A lot of the comments that I got right away off of the show was about my hair and my choice of being natural," Alexa Caves said, to which her fellow contestants chimed in on how much they loved her look. But then she added an empowering message: "I [also] had so much love come in, and it meant so much to get messages from people saying that it's important to have representation. I think that it means a lot more to me. The love, it is a lot louder. You just can't listen to that negativity."
While it was an unconventional "Women Tell All" episode, it might have been the best yet. Bring on more real emotions and strong women standing up for themselves, and each other, in 2020.
Tune in to the two-part finale of The Bachelor starting on Monday, March 9, and keep spreading love and support to everyone out there in Bachelor Nation and beyond.