Marquel Martin is speaking out about The Bachelor franchise's lack of diversity. The 33-year-old former Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise contestant took to Instagram on Monday to call out the show for not publicly supporting Black Lives Matter amid nationwide protests following George Floyd's death.
In his post, Martin referenced an open letter he penned back in 2014, after he was passed over to be The Bachelor in favor of Chris Soules. The men both competed on Andi Dorfman's season of The Bachelorette, and while Soules went on to be The Bachelor, Martin appeared on the first season of Bachelor in Paradise.
In the 2014 letter, Martin wrote that he felt "race played a large factor" in the decision to not select him as The Bachelor, adding that he chose to speak out as a "plea for change and a plea for tolerance, equality, and coexisting everywhere."
His recent Instagram post reiterated his past comments, noting that he's "troubled" by the current world events and felt it "necessary to take action and necessary to hold ourselves accountable."
"It saddens me to see that you guys seem to be silent on the current state of our nation and the outcry of equality from my people (African Americans)!" Martin wrote. "I am a proud black man and as a black man who was once a cast member on your show I take offense to your silence as a franchise. Maybe some of you personally aren’t racist and support the #blacklivesmatter movement, but as a franchise I’ve yet to see it."
Referencing his 2014 letter, Martin wrote "race played a big role then, and it still does today."
"As I said six years ago, 'your fan base is predominantly white,' 'it’s a ratings/money thing,' 'you guys should have a black Bachelorette first,' 'your audience isn't ready for a black male lead like me yet' etc," he wrote. "I actually remember one of you calling me after I wrote this letter saying, 'why aren’t you writing about Ferguson' assuming I didn’t care. Thinking back on it, all of that s**t was wrong and it needs to stop."
Martin continued his post by encouraging the franchise not to "hide behind money" and to "speak up and support us like we MATTER, because we do!!!!"