Greer Blitzer, a contestant on the final season of “The Bachelor,” has offered a second apology for defending a former classmate who dressed in a racist blackface costume at a Halloween party. This time, the apology was in front of a live studio audience.
In October, during filming for season 27 of the ABC dating reality show, which already had a troubled history of racism, screenshots of deleted tweets were released. appeared on reddit that showed Blitzer coming to her friend’s defense. At that time, her friend was sophomore at Lamar High School in Houston where Blitzer, who was 18 years old, had attended. In the tweets, he dismissed the blackface costume as “silly but not racist” and that it was “not an intentional racist act.”
Shortly after the first episode of the season aired in January, Greer issued her first apology on her Instagram story, writing: “In my past, I’ve made some uneducated, ignorant, and frankly incorrect comments on my social media accounts. social. In particular, in 2016, I used the wrong arguments on Twitter to defend a student who dressed as Blackface as Tupac for Halloween.”
“I am deeply sorry for those I have hurt, especially those within the black community, not because these screenshots have resurfaced, but because I ever shared those harmful views,” the 24-year-old continued, adding that her short age was no excuse for his actions.
Greer, originally from the Houston area, made a strong first impression on “The Bachelor” star Zach Shallcross. However, Shallcross ultimately decided against awarding Greer a rose for a date in his hometown, sending Greer home.
He once again faced the issue during Tuesday’s episode, in which the eliminated contestants sat down with the show’s host, Jesse Palmer, for brief interviews in front of a live audience.
Palmer acknowledged the show’s history of racist incidents, conceding that “as a franchise, we’ve done a very poor job in the past of addressing serious issues head-on.”
“I have wanted to address this. I don’t want to sweep it under the rug,” Blitzer began. “What I didn’t 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 knew he did blackface was racist, me defending him was racist, my ignorance was racist, and I’m so ashamed. I am deeply sorry that I have hurt the black community.”
She said she was educating herself on the history of blackface. Previously, Blitzer had met with Kira Banks, a psychology professor at St. Louis University and an expert on diversity, equity and inclusion who was in the audience for the episode.
“I think it’s important to name and give a voice when racism comes up,” Banks said. “The reality is that we cannot get out of racism with kindness. We can say the right thing, but what are we going to do, what actions are we going to take? That’s why it’s really important to not just be performative, but to educate ourselves to be willing to understand the story behind the actions and to be willing to do something different.”
Season 27 contestant Alyssa Jacobs, who is black, said that “things were painful to hear and watch,” Greer said on Twitter, according to people. But he said he “respected” that Greer “always faced him head on.”
For years, the show’s black fans have criticized it for its lack of diversity among contestants and leads. It wasn’t until 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 “bonus” interview with first-time Black Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, in which she defended season 25 contestant Rachael Kirkconnell for attending a 2018 frat party with a theme of the antebellum South, 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 more diverse producers to be hired, refraining from “creating problem stories” for people of color and looking for 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 contestant, Lee Garrett, surfaced online. Garrett referred to the Black Lives Matter movement as a “terrorist group” and in another tweethe asked: “What is the difference between the NAACP and the KKK? Wait for it… You have the sense of shame to cover your racist faces.”
And last fall, “Bachelorette” season 19 contestant Erich Schwer was outed for yet another blackface incident. A Reddit user had posted a high school yearbook photo of Schwer dressed as Jimi Hendrix in blackface. Schwer won the season and got engaged to Gabby Windey.
Both men have since apologized.