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Home GAMING 'Bachelorette' Star Gabby Windey in Erich Schwer's Blackface Photo

‘Bachelorette’ Star Gabby Windey in Erich Schwer’s Blackface Photo

This week’s season finale of “The Bachelorette” had a happy ending for leading lady Gabby Windey, who received a proposal from her latest suitor, Erich Schwer. But despite the couple’s commitment, their path to finding love on reality TV was not without controversy, and not just the on-screen drama you’d expect from a dating show, but the real trouble that comes with being the center of it. of public attention.

Towards the end of the season, an old high school yearbook photo of Schwer. appeared onlinewhich shows the then-teenager in blackface as part of a high school Halloween costume in which he dressed up as Jimi Hendrix with dark makeup and an afro wig.

Earlier this month, the reality star apologized for what he called an “insensitive photo,” posting a black square on his Instagram with a caption that read, in part: “What I thought at the time was a representation of my love for Jimi Hendrix, it was nothing but ignorance. I was naive to the harmful implications of my actions for the Black community and those closest to me, and I will always regret my offensive and harmful behavior. I am deeply ashamed of my actions and understand that my apology is only the first step in taking responsibility.”

Last night’s finale of “The Bachelorette” touched on a number of off-camera controversies, including one of Schwer’s exes sharing screenshots of text messages he had sent her just as she joined the ABC show. (Windey told host Jesse Palmer that his now-fiancé had told him about those messages before they went public on social media, and the couple handled it on their own.) and his “Bachelorette” partner Rachel Recchia’s cheating scandal, the subject of blackface was not mentioned once during the three-hour live episode.

Social media users on Twitter and TikTok noted that Schwer’s blackface photo was not addressed, as were Bachelor Nation alumni, including first black “Bachelorette” star Rachel Lindsay and former contestant Thomas Jacobs, who said the show swept the issue “under the rug.”

In a conversation with Variety on Wednesday, the morning after the finale aired, Windey was asked about her fiancé’s yearbook photo.

“I found out with the rest of the world and it was an immediate punch to the gut, really devastating,” Windey said. Variety. “So, it was hard for both of us to just weigh our values ​​and where we are and how this happened. And there is no excuse. She apologized, but ultimately there is no excuse for this behavior. I think we’re really reflecting on ourselves, learning where these biases come from. [and] how they affect other people and how to change them and how to grow.”

This isn’t the first time “The Bachelor” franchise has faced controversy surrounding race. In 2021, during Matt James’ season, which was the first season to star a black “Bachelor,” its eventual winner, Rachael Kirkconnell, had a photo of her past surface showing her attending a plantation-themed fraternity Before the war. 2018. At a time when she was the favorite contestant on that season, host Chris Harrison defended her in a now-infamous TV interview in which he invoked the term “woke up the police,” sparking an uproar on social media. and a revolt from the cast of BIPOC. members The scandal led to Harrison’s departure, after serving as the franchise’s host for nearly 20 years.

“The Bachelor” has come under fire for its lack of an inclusive cast over the years, particularly its leads, but it has gone out of its way to increase the pool of diverse contestants and hired the franchise’s first black executive producer on last year. The franchise has also faced questions about its background check process, especially as social media sleuths have uncovered finds from contestants’ pasts in recent seasons.

ABC declined to comment on the blackface photo when contacted by Variety.



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