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!!!!"
"We watch your show, we participate in your show and I've yet to see real change and acceptance. Loved that you guys had Rachel on, but that isn't enough!" he wrote, referencing season 13 Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay. "Don't just check some boxes and think we don't see you!"
The former reality star concluded his note by writing, "if you, ANY of you, have an issue with me and my words let me know. We can talk about it. #BlackLivesMatter."
View this post on Instagram
🚨Relevant @bacheloretteabc Throwback (please read - link in bio)🚨 Hi all - With recent events going on, I’ve been extremely troubled like many around the world. I have a lot to say, but I also have a lot to learn and that is why I usually try to make silent but actionable moves (s/o @movespodcast). Anyways, as I’ve been observing people, agencies, sports, influencers, and MYSELF, I wanted to share this really quick because I thought it necessary. It’s necessary to take action and it’s necessary to hold ourselves accountable. And that’s what I’m trying to do (peacefully and respectfully) with this post because I would be remiss if I didn’t do my part in calling out the silence of THE BACHELOR/BACHELORETTE FRANCHISE @bachelorabc @bacheloretteabc (Elan, Bennett, I love y’all, you know what it is this way✊🏾❤️) . And Make no mistake, I’m not doing this for fame or clout (I got a girl), but I’m doing this because I believe it’s the right thing to do. Don’t get me wrong, I love that I had the opportunity to be on the show. I have nothing but love for all of the producers, runners and cast members that I know (well most of you haha) but 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)! 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. And as I’ve said IN THE LETTER I WROTE (IN 2014!) race played a big role then, and it still does today. As Ive said 6 years ago ; “your fan base is predominantly white”, “it’s a ratings/money thing”, “you guys should have a black bachelorette first”, “your audience isnt ready for a black male lead like me yet” etc. 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 shit was wrong and it needs to stop. Don’t hide behind money, speak up and support us like we MATTER, because we do!!!! We watch your show, we part
Watch the video below to see how Lindsay is speaking out about the franchise's lack of diversity.