The petition was signed and shared by many Bachelor stars, including Rachel Lindsay, Tyler Cameron and Nick Viall

By Eric Todisco
June 09, 2020 01:06 PM
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Fans of The Bachelor franchise are rallying around a new petition that calls on ABC and executive producer Mike Fleiss to cast more people of color.

The petition, which has garnered over 47,000 signatures as of Tuesday morning, called the franchise's lack of diversity "unacceptable" and noted that in 40 seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay has been the only black lead. (Mike Johnson was a contender to become the first-ever black Bachelor last season, but Peter Weber, who is half-Cuban, got the gig.)

"Representation matters, and it is one of the most important ways our country can embrace its diversity and evolve," the petition states.

The campaign features 13 calls to action, including casting a black lead for season 25 of The Bachelor, as well as casting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) for "at least 35% of contestants" and giving them equitable screen time.

Next, the campaign asks the show to begin "actively supporting" the BIPOC contestants with mental health resources, hire a BIPOC diversity consultant, condemn racism and pay attention to stereotypes, and vet all new contestants to prevent those with "promoted prejudice" being cast.

The petition's final call to action asks the show to "issue a public statement apologizing for enabling systemic racism within the franchise and offer a clear plan for demonstrable anti-racism efforts moving forward."

Chris Harrison and upcoming star of The Bachelorette, Clare Crawley
John Fleenor via Getty

Many Bachelor Nation cast members have signed and shared the petition on social media, including Lindsay, Nick Viall, Olivia Caridi, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Lauren Burnham, Tyler Cameron and Ashley Spivey.

PEOPLE is out to ABC for comment.

Lindsay, who married Bryan Abasolo in August 2019, current hosts the official Bachelor Happy Hour podcast with Becca Kufrin. In a recent interview with AfterBuzz, the 34-year-old said that she would not want to continue to support the franchise if changes aren't made in the wake of George Floyd's death.

"When you're putting out something that is very white washed and doesn't have any type of color in it and you're not trying to be effective and change that ... I think that they have to at this point, give us a black Bachelor for season 25," Lindsay said. "I don't know how you don't. It's been asked of me will I continue in this franchise if it continues this way, I can't. It's ridiculous. It's embarrassing. At this point it's embarrassing to be affiliated with it."

Paul Hebert/ABC/Getty

Hannah Brown, the most recent Bachelorette, came under fire this summer for singing the n-word on Instagram Live. She has since apologized. 

"To be honest I didn't know a lot, I don't want to be ignorant anymore," she said. "I don't want to be an ignorant white girl who uses the N-word, but I also don't want to be someone who goes onto a platform intoxicated and engages in their platform that way."

Brown, 25, vowed to stop being "part of the problem."

"I will be a part of the solution, and you will see that," she promised. "From the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry. I'm sorry to everyone I hurt and disappointed. I promise to continue doing better, I promise."

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.