Monday's episode of The Bachelorette, when it wasn't about Rachel falling for (and with) with Bryan, was about Kenny vs. Lee. Kenny, of course, is the sensitive, kindhearted pro wrestler. He's not a killer but don't push him. Lee is the "snakey" Southern gentleman who lives to create drama, and he won't stop pushing Kenny. Kenny is black and Lee is white, and Lee has a long history of making racist remarks. When another black contestant tried to explain how Lee calling Kenny "aggressive" fit into a lineage of American racism, Lee said Kenny "pulled the race card," which is just one example of Lee's ugly behavior. He's a despicable person and ABC and Warner Bros. shouldn't have put him on the show.
Before the season even started, I was worried that exactly what happened would happen -- that The Bachelorette's producers wouldn't know how to handle having a black Bachelorette and would use racism as a storyline for drama the same way previous seasons have used rudeness or dishonesty or whatever. But racism is not the same. It strips its targets of their personhood. It's not to be used as a tool in creating frothy primetime entertainment.
And The Bachelorette put Lee on knowing full well that he was going to act racist. Maybe Chris Harrison didn't know about Lee's tweets, but somebody did. There's simply no way Lee passed through the battery of personality testing potential contestants are subjected to without his beliefs coming up. They created this situation. If the racism displayed on the show happened more naturally, with somebody maybe saying something offensive and getting called out for it, it could have been a teachable moment and I'd be writing a different article right now about "Rachel shutting somebody down" (which she did, and I did). But instead ABC and Warner Bros. indulged in racism for entertainment, and it's a very bad look. Their penchant for facilitating bad situations is blowing back on them in a big way these days.
Bachelorette fans have taken to Twitter to express just how much they've had enough of Lee. Luckily for them, there's no way Lee's not getting sent home on tonight's episode of The Bachelorette, which airs at 8/7c on ABC.