Rachel Lindsay shared an empowering message on her first day back to Instagram.
The former Bachelorette lead deactivated her account on Feb. 26 after receiving intense bullying from fans who blamed her for host Chris Harrison's temporary exit from the Bachelor franchise. However, on March 6, she returned, with a powerful post. In the caption of a pic of a vase of sunflowers, she wrote, "I want to be like a sunflower so that even on the darkest days I will stand tall and find the sunlight."
She also shared a photo of herself hiking in Los Angeles to Instagram, writing "Good vibes only" on the photo.
Lindsay, a lawyer and the first-ever Black lead the Bachelor franchise, has long been outspoken about the ways in which the long-running ABC series needs to make progress in terms of inclusion. Last month, photos of current Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell at an Old South party in 2018 surfaced, prompting accusations of racism.
On the show, the Extra correspondent spoke to Harrison about the photos, which celebrate Southern plantation culture before the American Civil War, when slavery was legal.
Harrison defended Kirkconnell's actions, insisting antebellum era-themed parties were socially acceptable in 2018 and cited the "woke police" as the reason for the backlash. Lindsay pushed back, explaining to Harrison why the photos were so harmful to people of color. Harrison received much criticism for his interview from fans and members of Bachelor Nation, and later, the host apologized, as well as announced his temporary departure from the franchise.
Yet others took it upon themselves to blame Lindsay for driving Harrison away from the dating competition, leading to social media harassment.
The Bachelor executive producers supported Lindsay in the wake of the bullying, writing on social media, "As Executive Producers of The Bachelor Franchise we would like to make it perfectly clear that any harassment directed towards Rachel Lindsay in the aftermath of her interview with Chris Harrison is completely inexcusable. Rachel has received an unimaginable amount of hate and has been subjected to severe online bullying, which, more often than not, has been rooted in racism. That is totally unacceptable. Rachel has been an incredible advocate for our cast, and we are grateful that she has worked tirelessly toward racial equity and inclusion."
Kirkconnell defended Lindsay as well, in a post that addressed the bullies on Instagram.
"You have the opportunity to make a positive difference, to use your energy towards change, and to come together and realize what's right in a time like this," she shared. "If you are choosing to rather spread hate, to send cruel, vicious messages, to be mad about people being hurt by racism...do better. Be better. Rachel Lindsay and other BIPOC have called for myself and others to be held accountable. This is needed, and she does not deserve the hate she is receiving."
Fortunately, it looks like Lindsay will continue to stand tall now that she has returned to social media.