Several weeks ago, ABC cast Rachel Lindsay as The Bachelorette, making her the first-ever African-American star of this beloved franchise.
But while the network was praised for taking this progressive step, it now faces a new, race-related controversy just two weeks into Season 13.
And it all centers on a suitor named Lee Garrett.
On Wednesday evening, a multitude of disturbing tweets allegedly sent from Garrett’s account were leaked on social media.
These messages would be considered ignorant at generous best, and extremely racist at more honest worst. To wit:
“What’s the difference between the NAACP and the KKK? Wait for it…One has the sense of shame to cover their racist a– faces.”
“America is becoming an urban Vietnam,” reads another Tweet, from June 2016. “Practice your second amendment. It’s there for a reason.”
Is it inherently racist to encourage gun ownership or gun use? Of course not.
But Garrett also linked to an article last year that labeled the Black Lives Matter movement as a terrorist organization.
Aside from making controversial remarks on race, Garrett also makes it very clear on many occasions that he doesn't believe in the concept of feminism.
"When is the last time YOU saw a pretty feminist? There’s a reason for this,” he Tweeted just over a year ago.
ABC has yet to comment on these offensive Tweets, which certainly appear to have been sent by Garrett.
But we cannot verify with absolute certainty whether or not this is the case.
Garrett is a 30-year-old singer/songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee.
His Twitter account is set to private, but he describes himself as “pleasantly offensive" in his bio.
How far does Garrett go this season? You can visit our section of The Bachelorette spoilers to find out, but there's where things get tricky for ABC.
This season has already taped. All episodes are "in the can" to use television jargon.
Producers can't just go ahead and fire Garrett, no matter what sort of backlash ensues from this discovery.
And make no mistake: there WILL be backlash.
Just consider the Tweets above and below, one of which reads "Hillary is the millennial’s version of O.J.”
Yes, he's comparing a Presidential candidate to a very likely murderer.
No one associated with The Bachelorette has spoken out yet on Garrett's various viewpoints.
But a journalist also landed in hot water last week after writing an article that praised Lindsay as The Bachelorette, yet also pointed to research that said black women rarely date outside their race.
No one ever said making history would be easy we guess, huh?
It will be interesting to watch The Bachelorette online or on television each week going forward in order to analyze how Garrett interacts with Rachel.
What do you think of these Tweets?
Just someone expressing some opinions and no big deal?
Or someone expressing some hateful opinions and a very big deal that makes you wonder how the messages were not discovered during basic background checks?