Last night, Bachelor In Paradise threw audiences a major curveball – the introduction of not one, but three new faces. Yep, I’m talking three people who have never been on any Bachelor franchise show, ever.
The glaring common factor here? All three were white.
The Bachelor franchise globally has been fraught with criticism over a lack of diversity for years. In Australia, we’ve seen season after season of white faces vying for love.
Things just don’t seem to change. On The Bachelor last year, the cast looked like this:
For The Bachelorette, it was even worse.
Despite the constant cries for more diversity over the years, production just didn’t seem to be listening.
Because the Bachie casts have been so white, it therefore makes sense that the Bachelor In Paradise cast this year would be incredibly white. Thankfully, we saw POC stars like Niranga and Mary join the group headed to Fiji, which was a good move – although it’s upsetting that they make up the bulk of POC from the last two seasons, as you can see above.
But the introduction of wild cards Connor, Tim and Chris – three men who have never been on a Bachelor franchise show and were therefore plucked from obscurity – changes things.
See, you could argue that Bachelor In Paradise is so white because previous seasons were so white. Therefore it’s less the fault of the current producers, and more a systemic issue that needs to be addressed, hopefully in future seasons.
But what you can’t argue is that the producers simply HAD to pick three of the whitest Australian men in existence to enter as intruders.
Niranga told news.com.au that “from experience, there are less POC auditioning for reality TV.”
“For the ones who do and are successful, there is another hurdle an individual has to conquer to actually make it to the filming stage. They have to convince their families they are happy for them to go on reality TV. POC individuals can have very strict cultural backgrounds which don’t always allow this kind of public display.”
But is the apparent fact that POC Australians aren’t auditioning to the level of white Aussies an excuse here? There was nothing stopping the producers from actively seeking out BIPOC men and women to enter Paradise, especially if they were breaking the rules of the stars needing to be ex-Bachie.
2020 has seen a huge focus on racism and lack of diversity. The Black Lives Matter movement stemming from police brutality in America turned into a bigger conversation around systemic racism, putting much needed pressure on brands, shows and businesses to become more diverse – from internal staffing choices to product offerings and casting.
While The Bachelor 2020 was cast prior to the BLM resurgence, I hope we see some more diversity in the women who have been selected as a sign the franchise is finally progressing. And there is simply no excuse by the time The Bachelorette rolls around – the world has spoken, and we want to see more BIPOC representation.