'Bachelor' contestants address cyberbullying by sharing their worst messages


The Bachelor: Women Tell All episode aired Monday night and covered all the usual bases, from the biggest moments of the season to the lingering drama between the women. But in the final moments of the episode, the show took a different turn, when host Chris Harrison brought out former Bachelorette star Rachel Lindsay to address a very serious matter — cyberbullying.

"I'd like to talk about something that's been going on for the last several seasons, something that is not OK," said Harrison. "There is so much passion out there in Bachelor Nation, and it's not always positive. There's some negative criticism. I completely understand that, but unfortunately, there is a line that has been crossed, and so it is time to address that."

When Lindsay was cast as ABC's first black Bachelorette in 2017, she knew it would be hard. But on Monday, Lindsay said that the online hate has gotten so much worse since her time on the show "because people have become so comfortable being mean, and meaner than ever on social media." Lindsay said that the only way to fix the problem is to acknowledge it. So to show viewers just how bad the hate on social media is, Lindsay read out some of the most shocking tweets that the women have received this season.

As Lindsay read through a few explicit tweets, the women and audience members were overcome with emotion. Lindsay stated, "I'm, like, shaking as I'm reading this, because it's shocking, it's uncomfortable. I know it's uncomfortable for you to see. Just imagine how uncomfortable it is to get this in your comments and your DMs every day, every week, every month."

All 17 women from this season of The Bachelor raised their hand when Harrison asked who among them have faced true hate on social media.

"It's literally that bad to where you have to try to figure out a way to block it out so you don't see it on a day-to-day so it literally, like, brings you down," said Shiann Lewis.

Tammy Ly shared, "I was so afraid to even pick up my phone, because people were saying such nasty things to me." The 24-year-old house flipper from New York revealed that she was getting death threats sent to her work email. Ly continued through tears, "My work email, saying that, 'Hey, I want to buy a house,' but it's actually a paragraph of how I should go kill myself.

"When it comes to the point of attacking someone for who their mother and father is, and because of the color of their skin, that's where it has to stop," said Sydney Hightower.

Twenty-seven-year-old contestant Alexa Caves shared, "A lot of the comments that I got right away off the show was, um, about my hair and my choice of being natural. And it sucks, and it hurts."

However, in the end, the women explained that they've also received messages from people saying how important it is to have representation on the show, and that the love has inspired them to be role models for other women and young girls.

Lindsay then praised the women for having the courage to share their stories, as she said, "As someone who's been in your shoes, I know how much courage it takes to put yourself out there to tell your story. I just want to remind you guys that you're not alone in anything that you're going through, and I just want you to also know that these people who hide behind their phones, and their computers, and these smart devices, they don't have even a fraction of the guts that you have to stand up here today and face these people."

The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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