Greer Blitzer, a contestant on the latest season of “The Bachelor,” has issued a second apology for defending a former classmate who dressed up in a racist costume at a Halloween party. This time, the apology was in front of a live studio audience.
In October while filming the 27th season of the ABC dating reality show, which already had a troubled history of racism, screenshots of deleted tweets surfaced on Reddit showing Blitzer defending her friend. At the time, her friend was a sophomore at Lamar High School in Houston where Blitzer, who was 18, had attended. In tweets, he dismissed the blackface suit as “stupid but not racist” and that it “wasn’t an intentional act of racism”.
Shortly after the season premiere aired in January, Greer issued her first apology on her Instagram story, writing: “In my past, I have made some uneducated, ignorant, and frankly, wrong, comments on my social media accounts. . Specifically, in 2016, I used misguided arguments on Twitter to defend a student who dressed up in blackface as Tupac for Halloween.”
“I am deeply sorry for those I hurt, especially those in the Black community, not because these screenshots resurfaced, but because I ever shared these harmful views,” the 24-year-old continued, adding that her young age was no excuse for the her actions.
Greer, originally from the Houston area, made a strong first impression on “The Bachelor” star Zach Shallcross. However, Shallcross ultimately decided not to grant Greer a rose for a hometown date, which sent Greer home.
She was once again confronted with the topic during Tuesday’s episode, in which the eliminated contestants sat down with the show’s host, Jesse Palmer, for short interviews in front of a live audience.
Palmer acknowledged the show’s history of racist incidents, admitting that “as a franchise, we’ve done a really bad job in the past of confronting serious issues head-on.”
“I wanted to get into it. I don’t want to sweep it under the rug,” Blitzer began. “What I failed to mention in my apology was that what happened was racist. It’s not about intent, it’s about impact. And this acquaintance of mine who I knew performed blackface was racist, me defending it was racist, my ignorance was racist and I am very ashamed. I’m just deeply sorry that I hurt the black community.”
She said she is educating herself on the history of blackface. Earlier, Blitzer met with Kira Banks, a St. Louis University psychology professor and diversity, equity and inclusion expert, who was in the audience for the episode.
“I think it’s important to name and give voice when racism occurs,” Banks said. “The reality is that we cannot escape racism. We can say the right thing, but what will we do, what actions will we take? That’s why it’s so important to not just be do-gooders, but to train ourselves to be willing to understand the story behind actions and to be willing to do something different.”
Season 27 co-star Alyssa Jacobs, who is Black, said “it was painful to hear and see things,” Greer had said on Twitter, according to People. But he said he “respected” that Greer “always faced it head on.”
For years, Black fans of the show have called it out for the lack of diversity among the contestants and the leads. It was only after the 2020 murder of George Floyd and an online campaign that ABC producers cast Matt James as the first black lead on “The Bachelor.”
That season was also overshadowed by racism when then-host Chris Harrison gave a controversial “Extra” interview with the first Black Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay, in which she defended season 25 contestant Rachael Kirkconnell for attending a frat party on 2018 with a previous South. subject, the period when slavery was legal in the southern states.
After the interview, Harrison quickly apologized but ultimately left the series after 19 years of hosting the franchise that includes “The Bachelorette.”
Lindsey in 2020 had threatened to cut ties with the franchise if it didn’t commit to more diversity. He called for hiring more diverse producers, avoiding “creating problematic stories” about people of color and finding leads who had experience with interracial dating.
During Lindsey’s “Bachelorette” season, fans attacked her online with racial slurs.
Then, racist tweets from one of that season’s contestants, Lee Garrett, surfaced online. Garrett referred to the Black Lives Matter movement as “terrorist group” and in another tweet, asked, “What’s the difference between the NAACP and the KKK? Wait… Someone has a sense of shame to cover their racist a-faces.”
And last fall, “Bachelorette” Season 19 contestant Erich Schwer was out for yet another soft-faced incident. A Reddit user had posted a school yearbook photo of Sver dressed as Jimi Hendrix with his face painted black. Schwer won the season and became engaged to Gabby Windey.
Both men have since apologized.