Peter Weber’s “Women Tell All” reunion seemed like a guaranteed snoozer—this season’s frontrunners have mostly been clear from the beginning, so most of the drama was just a sideshow. And indeed, as Kelsey Weier re-lived “champagne-gate” and Victoria Fuller insisted that, no, she’s never broken up any marriages in her life, the night felt pretty forgettable.
“There is so much passion out there in Bachelor Nation,” Harrison said. “Unfortunately, there is a line that has been crossed.” Now, he said, is the time to address that.
“I’m really nervous right now,” Lindsay said, “and I think that’s because the issue that we’re going to discuss today is sadly something that most of us have experienced. That’s online harassment and it’s hate.”
“People have become so comfortable being mean,” Lindsay continued. “And by not talking about it I think people feel empowered that they can continue to say certain things to us. And if we’re ever gonna fix this problem, we have to acknowledge the problem.”
“When I was asked to be the Bachelorette, I knew it would be hard,” Lindsay said. She was the franchise’s first black Bachelorette, and has been candid in the past about her disappointments with her season. “I knew I would get even more hate and criticism [as the first black Bachelorette] but I wanted to pave a way for women who look like me, who haven’t been represented in this role on this show,” Lindsay said.
At that moment the special’s audience burst into applause. “Thank you,” Lindsay said. “But sometimes I feel like my efforts are in vain, because it seems to be getting so much worse. And I feel like you guys hear us talk about the hate that we receive, but you have no idea what it is. And the only way that I can actually make you feel it is for you to see it.”
Lindsay began to read aloud from actual hateful messages the contestants had received—notes that were displayed on large screens for the audience, who could be seen reading in disbelief.
“You’re an emotional, stupid bitch,” one message read. “Kill your self. You’re useless.”
“You stupid punk ass bitch,” another read. “If I ever see you, get ready to have your lawyer ready because I’m gonna fuck you up, bitch.”
“No one cares about a half-[redacted], half-Mexican bitch’s opinion,” said another. “You are disgusting and are jealous.”
“I’m shaking as I’m reading this,” Lindsay said, “I know it’s uncomfortable for you to see. Just imagine how uncomfortable it is to get this in your comments, in your DMs, every day, every week, every month?... That’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
“Clearly what we’re talking about isn’t criticism,” Harrison said. “This is hate. How many of you have faced true hate—not criticism—true hate.” All of the women had.
From there, the women discussed the horrific forms of harassment they’d received. Alexa Caves, another contestant from this season, said she received hateful messages because of her natural hair. Tammy, one of this season’s villains, said that at one point she was afraid to answer her phone because she’d been receiving death threats. Some, she said, were emails to her at work—for instance, a message purportedly from someone hoping to purchase a house that turned out to be “actually a paragraph about how I should go kill myself.”
“I’m just thankful for you guys for sharing your stories,” Lindsay said. “And I know—as someone who’s been in your shoes, I know how much courage it takes to put yourself out there...These people who hide behind their phones and their smart devices, they don’t have even a fraction of the guts that you do to stand here today.”