While speaking to ET’s Kevin Frazier this week, the former Bachelorette star addressed Harrison’s guest appearance on “Good Morning America” this week, in which he apologized again for defending the racism accusations against “Bachelor” contestant Rachael Kirkconnell in an interview with Rachel Lindsay last month. Dorfman also explained why she feels like Bachelor nation “dropped the ball” on its handling of the situation.
“I don’t know how you let somebody like Rachel Lindsay get bullied off her own social media account without stepping in and saying things earlier,” the 33-year-old reality star said. “I don’t know how you kind of hide behind all of that. [When] your cast and your contestants are the ones that are having to come together without you, where is the franchise in all of this?”
“You are seeing the cast and the contestants all come together on social media and support one another, but you are not seeing ABC, ‘Bachelor’ or ‘Bachelorette’ support anybody,” she continued. “I think they’re scared. I think the franchise is scared.”
Dorfman said that while a lot of positive changes have been made since she was the Bachelorette in 2014, she believes the franchise still has a long way to go.
“A lot of the work honestly starts within Bachelor franchise,” she explained. “You’re seeing a lot of diverse cast [members], of course. Like, we’re seeing probably the most diverse cast we’ve ever seen this past season and everyone wants to see that to continue to grow. But my question is, what’s happening internally? The people that are sitting around the table, making the big decisions, is there diversity there? Is there diversity in the casting department? In editing?”
“Instead of just kind of throwing it all to the contestants, I would love to see the diversity happen within the network, within the production, within the people that are making those decisions,” she continued. “Honestly, I would love to have a sit-down with people who are high up, that work inside, that make the decisions. To be honest, I feel like we’ve never gotten that opportunity. We come on a season and then we’re off, and it’s off to the next. Yes, we get provided a platform to do things, but there’s never really been that open dialogue. I would love to challenge them, to be able to have that [opportunity].”
Dorfman, who is friends with Harrison, told ET that she has spoken to him amid the downfall, and thinks “he’s embarrassed” by it all. “I think he has remorse for what he said, but I also think he knows there is some inner working that he needs to do,” she shared. “To think about why he said that.”
As for Harrison’s latest apology, Dorfman believes it’s a “great step” in the right direction, but says more change needs to happen on his part, too.
“I think that’s the first step in it. For me, I think now that the apology is done, it’s time to look at the action,” she said. “So what follows next? Where is the action, where is the change? That is the important thing to me … that’s where the genuine authenticity comes from.”
“We’re in a society where people are having this sort of tear down effect. You see it in the Bachelor franchise, the girls bullying on camera, you see it in the harassment on social media,” she continued. “I think people are very cautious in their words and I think they should actually just be a little bit more emotional, be a little bit more compassionate, be able to stand up and say, ‘This is disgusting. This behaviour is harassment.’ But I don’t know. I feel like [his apology] was a little more reserved than I’d like to see.”
Dorman shared that she’s also spoken to Lindsay, revealing that she’s “doing OK” and handling the situation “as well as she can.”
“We’ve all shown support for her privately, publicly. I feel for her, that she is taking on so much of this burden,” Dorfman said. “It’s one of those situations where I just want to help.”
“I’m super proud of her,” she added. “I think she’s in a very difficult situation where she’s getting harassed, which is just disgusting, to be honest. The fact that someone like Rachel has to go off her own social media account, it’s disgusting to me. I feel for her, but I also feel like she has the opportunity to pave the way in real change and I think she’s doing that.”
During Thursday’s “GMA”, Harrison expressed his hopes for returning to the franchise as host, after temporarily stepping down amid the controversy. When asked if she thinks he should return, Dorfman said, “I don’t know. I think that’s a decision that is, to be honest, well above my pay grade.”
“I mean, he’s the face of the franchise. He’s been doing it for 20 plus years, and we’ve got a situation here where, do we allow this person to change?” she said. “I think you allow people to redeem themselves in all aspects of life. So, yeah, I do think he returns. I think if the network decides this is no longer a fit for him, then that’s their choice. Then I would maybe like to see a female step in, if we’re going to continue this change.”
“I think the question right now is also, ‘What is the action?’ I think we’re all learning,” she continued. “What action do people want to see? What action really matters to people? And part of that is having conversations. Like, I talk to Rachel Lindsay all the time about it. I ask her questions, because I don’t know the answers to it, and I think that’s a huge part of it — asking people how you want to see the change.”
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