On Monday, season 14 Bachelorette Becca Kufrin got her fairy-tale finale. Dressed in a dreamy Randi Rahm custom couture gown, she said yes when now-fiancé Garrett Yrigoyen got down on one knee to propose. But former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay wasn’t entirely swept away by romance. In an op-ed for Us Weekly, the Dallas-based lawyer called out the reality dating franchise for the problematic difference between her season and Kufrin’s.
ICYMI, Lindsay ultimately said yes when Bryan Abasolo asked her to marry him back in 2017. However, their “happy ending” wasn’t quite so picture-perfect. Unlike Kufrin, who didn’t come onto the live finale stage until mere moments before Yrigoyen proposed on-screen, Lindsay had to endure the entire three-hour production onstage.
“Becca did not sit on stage for three hours and watch the finale for the first time in front of a live audience. Becca did not have to deal with someone telling her she would live a mediocre life. Becca did not have to deal with being baited with real-time questions about her emotions watching certain scenes. Nope, that was me,” Lindsay wrote.
What’s tragically ironic about that contrast is that the added on-air scrutiny actually would have made more sense in Kufrin’s case.
In addition to the revelation that one of her suitors was convicted of felony sexual assault (for an incident prior to the show), news would break during the season that Garrett Yrigoyen — the man to whom Kufrin is now engaged — had a history of liking posts on social media mocking various minority groups, including the transgender community, feminists and survivors of the Parkland school shooting.
Not only was this behavior offensive and attracted lots of negative press when it first came out at the beginning of the season, but it is also in direct contrast to Kufrin’s own belief systems, which she talked about on the show. Fans would undoubtedly have liked to see that addressed beyond the glossing-over it got during Kufrin and Yrigoyen's couch time on the finale. However, any controversy paled in comparison to the way Kufrin and Yrigoyen's love story was portrayed.
For Lindsay, therein lies the rub.
“There was no controversy and she was not put in a position to face any,” said Lindsay. “She was protected and I was placed on display for three hours and labeled an angry black female. And there will always be that stigma attached to my finale because it has been said that when truth is blurred by misinformation, perception becomes reality and all is lost.”
On Lindsay’s finale, the focus gravitated more toward her seemingly sympathetic runner-up, Peter Kraus. So, according to Lindsay, her love story with Abasolo was never shown in the same light as Kufrin’s with Yrigoyen.
“Do you ever recall seeing Bryan profess how excited he was to propose to me? Do you recall seeing me cry about how I was so excited to say yes to Bryan and get my fairytale ending?” she asked. “The answer would be 'no' to both of those questions. And it is a shame because both of those things actually happened. You just did not see them.”
This is not to say that Lindsay doesn’t wish Kufrin all the best. After all, as Kufrin pointed out in response to Lindsay’s op-ed, she doesn’t have any control over production. “You know last [season], we had the two-night finale where they showed the breakup and then everything after that in two nights, so I think it’s just always different,” Kufrin told Us Weekly. “I don’t really have much of a say in that.”
Lindsay’s point — and it’s a salient one — is that The Bachelorette seems to be setting certain couples up for failure and others for success. What matters most, though, isn’t the narrative set forth during the finale. It's what comes next, and in that regard, Lindsay has a solid head start.
“As for my happy ending, it was not demonstrated within the confines of your television screens, but I am living it every day in real life,” she said.