Jesse Palmer isn’t sugarcoating The Bachelor franchise’s past. In an interview with ET, the host admitted that the show has “done a bad job in the past of addressing series topics and issues.”
The acknowledgment comes after a series of racism controversies from the franchise, most recently when the show failed to discuss contestant Erich Schwer’s Blackface scandal during the season finale of The Bachelorette.
When faced with a similar scandal this season — contestant Greer Blitzer defended someone wearing Blackface — Jesse told ET that “we weren’t going to miss that opportunity” to discuss the situation during the “Women Tell All” episode.
“We knew it was important to have this conversation with Greer and give her space and a place to speak on it, and Greer really wanted to do that as well,” Jesse explained. “So I think everybody here at the show, while no one condones her tweets or her social media posts from the past, I think they are pretty proud of her for wanting to address this head-on tonight.”
During the episode, Greer, who previously apologized for her past actions, spoke once more about the old tweets.
“What I failed to mention in my apology was that what happened was racist. It’s not about the intent, it’s about the impact,” she said. “This acquaintance of mine that I knew [wearing] Blackface was racist, me defending it was racist, my ignorance was racist. I’m just so ashamed. I’m just deeply sorry that I hurt the Black community. I can’t go back in time. All I can do is try to be better now and try to do better in my future.”
To learn more, Greer sat down with Dr. Kira Banks, who, Jesse told ET, “really helped guide this conversation and provide a lot of insight to Greer along the way.”
“She brought to my attention that it’s so important to be open-minded. It’s so important to question things and ask and not just do without thinking,” Greer said during the episode. “Before you speak, think. Before you say something that could hurt someone, [think].”
“I looked up lectures. I really wanted to dive deep into the history of Blackface and understand why it was wrong, why it’s offensive,” she added. “The research I was able to do I realized it was a symbol for dehumanizing the Black community. What I said was wrong. What I said defending that girl was racist. I want to take that accountability. I don’t want to excuse it.”
Jesse told ET that the conversation “was certainly a step in the right direction,” adding, “I’m really excited about the direction that the show’s going to have moving forward on topics like this.”
The Bachelor airs Mondays on ABC. Stay up to date on all the drama with ET’s coverage of Zach Shallcross’ journey for love.
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