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The Bachelor franchise hires first Black executive producer amid racism controversy

Matt James and Serena Pitt film for The Bachelor
The Bachelor has named its first Black executive producer in the history of the franchise following Chris Harrison’s exit. Pic credit: ABC

The Bachelor franchise has named Jodi Bakerville an executive producer, making her the first Black executive producer in the franchise’s history.

Bakerville is a seasoned producer who has been working with the franchise for about a decade.

Sources informed Variety that Bakerville has been promoted to the executive producer.

Bakerville will reportedly step into her role as executive producer for The Bachelorette Season 18. Michelle Young will be leading the season as the third Bachelorette of color.

This comes after the franchise vowed to have a more diverse creative team and specifically expressed the need to hire an executive producer of color.

The racism controversy that shook The Bachelor franchise

The Bachelor franchise has received criticism in the past for its lack of diversity, but its racism issues all really came to a head in one specific instance.

The issue occurred during Matt James’s season of The Bachelor. His final pick, Rachael Kirkconnell, found herself in deep water after pictures of her posing for an Antebellum-themed plantation photoshoot, a location and theme deeply rooted in racism and slavery, resurfaced on social media.

While Rachael had yet to speak out on the controversy, Bachelor franchise host Chirs Harrison set up an interview with Extra in an attempt to clear her name.

However, the interview did not go as Chris had hoped and some of Bachelor Nation felt as if Chris disrespected his interviewer, Rachel Lindsay– a woman of color.

Rachael eventually apologized for her past social media activity and even defended Rachel Lindsay.

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The controversy arose as the final episodes of the show were airing and since filming had wrapped, Matt had already picked her at that point.

The pair reportedly broke up behind the scenes and expressed that they couldn’t rekindle their relationship during the After the Final Rose special.

Recent reports, however, may hint that the breakup wasn’t as clear-cut as it initially seemed.

How the Bachelor racism controvery impacted the franchise

Rachael and Matt are now back together. However, Chris Harrison still remained a problem in the systemic racism plaguing the franchise.

Chris decided to take a step back from his hosting duties amid the controversy. Even though he vowed he’d be back, he wasn’t asked to host The Bachelorette Season 17 nor Bachelor in Paradise.

Chris stepped away from the Bachelor franchise permanently in June with a reported $9 million buyout after threatening to expose the franchise’s dirt.

Additionally, the franchise has made more steps towards diversity. The franchise hired Tayshia Adams, a woman of color, to co-host The Bachelorette Seasons 17 and 18.

Plus, Tituss Burgess and Lil John will be two of the guest hosts on Bachelor in Paradise.

Now with a Black executive producer at the show’s helm, more diversity will likely be instilled in the franchise.

The Bachelorette airs on Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.

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