There’s another Bachelor Nation season in full swing, which apparently means it’s time for another disappointing racism scandal.
Of course, the last high-profile s**t show was Rachael Kirkconnell‘s old antebellum-themed party photo fracas that came out when she was on Matt James‘ season of The Bachelor. That controversy completely derailed James’ season on the show, and even led to Chris Harrison getting booted as the series’ host. Now, it appears we’re back there again with a finalist on the current season of The Bachelorette. Buckle up for this one, y’all…
Of course, this season boasts double leading ladies, with Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia both vying for love from two lucky men. And for Gabby’s part, she’s got just one contestant left in the mix: hunky 29-year-old Erich Schwer. So imagine the shock when old high school yearbook pictures surfaced on Twitter earlier this week of the real estate analyst in blackface.
In the pic, Schwer can be seen wearing an Afro-style wig with his skin coated in black cosmetics. As you can see (below), the yearbook outs Schwer directly in the image, with a quote of his (“It was swell”) posted right alongside:
— Rosé (@TeaAndRoses21) September 8, 2022
This man is 29 years old! That means this pic was taken, what, a little over a decade ago?! We’re not excusing any blackface pics, but deciding to take one in 2011 or whatever is insane! It’s never been acceptable and it’s really (really, really, REALLY) not OK in modern times! How do people still struggle with this fact?? Shame on the school for allowing this costume and even including it in their yearbook…
Responding to the controversy on Twitter, fans of the show let Schwer know how they feel (below):
“at this point what lead doesn’t have stuff like this come out about them. im tired”
“His high school put that in the yearbook?!?!? That’s even more concerning.”
“Every decent guy on #thebachelorette seems to have a problematic skeleton in his closet.”
“Do they not vet contestants anymore!? If he would do something as disgusting as blackface I’m sure there’s a lot more skeletons in his closet. When will they finally make it a priority to thoroughly vet contestants before letting them on the show.”
“Can they just… I dunno ask the men point blank. Have you ever done blackface? Like what is the vetting process lol”
“It’s ironic that he was a ‘Peer Leader’ while setting the example of blackface to the student body. Yikes”
As some fans pointed out, maybe this controversy shouldn’t be a huge surprise. After all, back in July, another photo resurfaced of Schwer hanging with friends — some of whom were wearing “Make America Great Again” hats (below):
This pic with his “second family” wearing MAGA hats came out a bit ago so sadly I’m not surprised ???? pic.twitter.com/XKC4usGuRX
— lex ???? ???? (@you1are1in1love) September 8, 2022
That f**king red hat…
On Thursday afternoon, Schwer popped up on Instagram to address the blackface photo. To his credit, the reality TV star actually gave a contrite apology about it, even as he excused the event itself with his “love for Jimi Hendrix.” Uh-huh. Gabby’s guy wrote on IG (below):
“I wholeheartedly apologize for the insensitive photo of me in Blackface from my high school yearbook that has been circulating. What I thought at the time was a representation of my love for Jimi Hendrix, was nothing but ignorance. I was naïve to the hurtful implications of my actions to the Black community and those closest to me, and will forever regret my offensive and damaging behavior. I am deeply ashamed by my actions and understand that my apology is only the first step in taking accountability.”
It’s like clockwork at this point.
It’ll be interesting to see where things go from here on the show. Like we mentioned, Schwer is barreling towards the final with Gabby’s heart in his hands. Guess we’ll see soon enough!
What do y’all think of this controversy, Perezcious readers? Sound OFF with your take down in the comments (below)…
[Image via Bachelor Nation/YouTube]