Becca Kufrin Speaks Out Against Harassment of Rachel Lindsay: 'This Is Simply Not Okay'
"Hearing that Rachel Lindsay had to deactivate her account bc of the horrible bullying taking place is awful and unacceptable," former Bachelorette star JoJo Fletcher also shared
On Saturday, Kufrin released a lengthy statement of support after Lindsay, The Bachelorette's first Black lead, deactivated her Instagram account due to the harassment she's received amid the ongoing controversy about how racism has been addressed within the Bachelor franchise.
"I've said this privately but I'll say it publicly as well because it's an important issue that needs addressing," Kufrin, 30, wrote. "To Rachel Lindsay: I love you, I stand by you and I support you in whatever way, shape or form that's needed."
"We live in a world where online toxicity, racism, racial insensitivity & ignorance, bullying and cruelty have become a norm. This is simply not okay," former Bachelorette Kufrin continued. "For the keyboard warriors, get a clue. Channel that energy for actual positive change. For those with type-happy fingers or think it's okay to spew hatred on social channels need to begin to recognize other people's humanity and realize that words have weight. Think about the impact that they can leave for the person on the receiving end."
Reflecting on what happened to Lindsay, 35, Kufrin noted that the "extreme hate and harassment" that can be found online "needs to change."
"The fact that my friend Rachel had to deactivate her personal Instagram account due to extreme hate and harassment is so incredibly disheartening and deranged. It's a sad reality of the world we live in, and needs to change," she wrote. "I'm one of the lucky few who actually know her and her heart, and if people could only see how brightly she shines, you'd think twice before sending such hateful messages."
Kufrin added, "If you are one of the people that have sent any hate or cruelty her way, you should be embarrassed and need to be better. Nastiness ain't a cute look."
Former Bachelorette JoJo Fletcher also spoke out on social media. "It's honestly so sad that I'm even having to type this message, but unfortunately it's not a new topic of concern. If you are following me, and think it's OK to send hateful, vile and harassing comments, please take a moment of deep self reflection and understand what that says about you," she wrote on her Instagram Story Saturday. "Hearing that Rachel Lindsay had to deactivate her account bc of the horrible bullying taking place is awful and unacceptable. We need to come together, and be kinder to one another. Please - if you have ever been on the wrong side of this, do better. Be better."
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Lindsay's Higher Learning podcast co-host Van Lathan also spoke out in support of Lindsay.
"My co-host on Higher Learning, Rachel Lindsay, disabled her Instagram earlier today," he said in a video shared on his Instagram account Friday. "She did it because that's how much hate she's getting from Bachelor fans who are spamming her with all kinds of rude and hateful things to say."
"Rachel is not responsible for Chris Harrison, a 49-year-old man who can't read the room in these 2021 times. She's not responsible for that," Lathan continued. "It's not her job to make excuses or provide cover for somebody who doesn't understand what the f— triggers people in today's world. It's not. You're going after the wrong person."
Earlier this month, Lindsay interviewed Harrison for Extra, and asked him about current contestant Rachael Kirkconnell's resurfaced social media posts that showed racist behavior, including attending an Antebellum South-themed party and wearing Native American attire as a costume. (Kirkconnell has since issued an apology and earlier this week asked those defending her actions to "please stop."
Harrison quickly received backlash for his failure to denounce Kirkconnell's acts of racism and apologized a couple of days later before announcing he will be "stepping aside" from the franchise for an unspecified amount of time.
It remains unknown who will replace Harrison on the upcoming After the Final Rose special for James' current season.
PEOPLE reported earlier this week that producers are working to make "appropriate changes" in the franchise.