Former Bachelorette star Rachel Lindsay isn't holding back when it comes to addressing the franchise's controversies.
During an "Ask Me Anything" Reddit session with her Higher Learning podcast co-host Van Lathan on Tuesday, Lindsay, 35, reflected on her season and shared her belief that contestant Lee Garrett was intentionally cast on the ABC reality series to "add controversy."
ABC had no comment.
Garrett had incredibly offensive and racist tweets resurface after the premiere of her season in 2017. In the tweets, he allegedly advised his followers to "Never trust a female liberal," allegedly described the Black Lives Matter movement as a terrorist group, compared the NAACP to the KKK, and made Islamaphobic remarks that were captured by one fan.
On the Reddit AMA, Lindsay, 35, discussed the current Bachelor racism controversy involving host Chris Harrison and was asked whether she thought contestant Rachael Kirkconnell — whose past racially insensitive photos recently resurfaced after Matt James' season premiered — "was intentionally casted, like Lee was on your season?"
"Obviously Lee was the antagonist and the racism was tinged in his antagony, so I assume he was cast specifically for that. Do you think it was the same with Rachael, or she slipped through the production's vetting?" the fan questioned. "Do you feel they don't vet well enough, or they mean to cast racists?"
Lindsay responded, "There was a time where I truly wanted to believe that Lee slipped through the cracks but I now know better. I really think Lee was casted to add controversy and they also knew I would not pick him."
She added that she doesn't think production was "aware" of Kirkconnell's past.
"I do think Rachael slipped through the cracks. I do not think they were aware of all the things that she is connected to or that she did," she said.
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Lindsay made history as the series' first Black Bachelorette.
On the Men Tell All Special for her season, Garrett apologized after a fierce interrogation by the other contestants.
"I'm sorry for saying things when I was not educated and ignorant in those subjects," he said at the time.
During the "Ask Me Anything" Reddit session, another fan told Lindsay they thought it was "unsatisfying that most of Lee's racism and misogyny was addressed before [Lindsay] took the stage" the night Garrett was confronted.
When Lindsay was asked if she wished it had been "handled differently," the former Bachelorette lead called it "a prime example of what the role of the Bachelorette is in the franchise."
"They want you to be seen and not heard. They did not want me to come off too aggressive or combative…even if it was against racism," Lindsay wrote. "I wish I could have said how I felt about him, the fact that he was on my season, and what it meant to cast a racist on the first season of your first Black lead…but contracts lol."
Reflecting on the scandal, Garrett told Us Weekly in August 2017 that "it's not about getting caught. It's about learning and growing."
"I think I had to look into myself and look into what I really believe in and what my thoughts really are and grow. I think that's not an overnight thing. I had to take that time when I got back and go through everything and figure everything out. When I actually did the Tell All, it was very sincere. I missed a lot of these guys. It was very genuine for me," he said, adding that the show "made me more open-minded in terms of not being so hard-headed."
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