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'The Bachelorette' 2022: Fans call show 'tone-deaf' for not addressing Erich's 'yearbook photo' controversy

Fans say 'The Bachelor franchise not addressing Erich’s blackface tonight speaks VOLUMES'
Jesse Palmer, Gabby Windey, and Erich Schwer in 'The Bachelorette' 2022 (ABC)
Jesse Palmer, Gabby Windey, and Erich Schwer in 'The Bachelorette' 2022 (ABC)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Erich Schwer and Gabby Windey made a live appearance on part two of 'The Bachelorette' finale, four months after getting engaged to celebrate their love. Fans believed Erich needed to apologize for much more, even though he finally speaks up about texts he sent to an ex before filming.

While shooting 'The Bachelorette' in May, Gabby Windey and Erich Schwer got engaged in Mexico, but a lot can transpire in four months! On September 20, they spoke about their current relationship status during a live appearance on After The Final Rose. The appearance occurred after Erich had some public controversy, including a resurrected blackface picture from his high school yearbook and claims from an ex that he intentionally ended their relationship to come on the show to advance his career. Fans thought there were significant questions unresolved when he eventually went on the show and attempted to take responsibility for half his actions.


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Gabby and Erich made their first live appearance as an engaged pair at After the Final Rose, and they couldn't be happier. They did, however, address the allegations made against Erich. Jesse Palmer directly confronted Erich about text messages he sent his ex before the show, in which he stated that 'The Bachelorette' "wasn't real" and that he was merely going on to advance his career. “I was taking the cowardly way out [with my ex],” Erich clarified. “I led this girl on and used the show as an excuse to not confront her about our relationship. I didn’t see a future, but we were having fun, and it was easy to have fun instead of making the hard decision to tell her it wasn’t long-term. I think this is all a testament to me being the last person ever expected to be on this show. I came into this just hoping to make it past night one and see what happens. I’d watched one episode before I came on and was just figuring it out as I got there.”

Gabby and Erich in 'The Bachelorette' 2022 (ABC)
Gabby and Erich in 'The Bachelorette' 2022 (ABC)

Erich stated that everything changed after meeting Gabby and getting to know her. "I wanted to just spend more time with this person and see where it goes," he explained. "It’s crazy to watch the progress from [me] being like, ‘Whatever’, to falling in love and end up the happiest ending possible. I wouldn’t change anything. If I could do it a million times over, I would. The one thing I’m sorry for is the beginning of it. I do want to own that. But I love this girl with all my heart. It’s 100 percent real. I never expected it, and I want this forever."

Gabby stood by her fiancé, although admitting that their relationship was "hard" at times. She acknowledged that Erich informed her of the text messages before they became public. "He wasn’t just thinking about himself and hoping he could skate by," Gabby explained. “He was thinking about me. I think, along the way, it’s been hard, but our communication has just gotten better, and he’s gracious and honest. I do believe what he says. Not saying [he] was right in [his] actions — [he] was kind of an a**hole to her, and I’ve said that to him before. But his honesty and willingness to take accountability is all I can ask for and something I want in a partner. When you say yes to spending the rest of your life with someone, it’s not going to be easy, so we’re just trying the best we can to make it work.”

While Erich may believe his clarification let him off the hook, Bachelor Nation viewers may disagree. Fans of the franchise slammed the show on Twitter for not confronting Erich about his other controversy. He previously apologized when a yearbook photo of him in blackface appeared online. Erich is wearing an afro wig and black makeup in the shot, which was uploaded on Reddit. Fans hoped that at After The Final Rose, both of Erich's controversies would be addressed, but no such luck. Bashing the franchise, a fan tweeted: "WTF?? The Bachelor franchise not addressing Erich’s blackface tonight speaks VOLUMES. That’s it. I am no longer watching this tone-deaf franchise! If you choose to continue watching after tonight, you’re tone-deaf as well! #TheBachelorette #EndBachelor." Some fans believe Erich released those text messages himself so that he doesn't have to address the 'yearbook controversy': "now I think Erich released those text messages himself so he wouldn’t have to address him doing blackface. #thebachelorette." Another angry fan tweeted: "They asked Zach “how are you feeling so far?” 857 times but couldn’t find time to address Erich’s blackface… sounds about right #thebachelorette." Another fan tweeted how the show made a Black woman get Zach's first impression rose in order to avoid addressing Erich's controversy: "The show made sure Brianna “won” the Twitter vote to make us forget about how they let black face Erich off the hook. Keep y’all third open #TheBachelorette." One fan tweeted how picking Briana was just for 'show': "Honestly, poor Brianna. This is just for “show” after not addressing Erich’s yearbook photo. #TheBachelorette."






One fan felt Gabby was too easy on Erich while Rachel would have a different reaction altogether: "Rachel would be ripping Erich apart #thebachelorettes." Some fans slammed Jesse for not confronting Erich and just holding him accountable for the text drama: "Can we talk about messy messy Jesse? Baby was shitstirring like rent was DUE!!!! He earned his paycheck. He should have addressed the blackface but I can’t expect much from this show #TheBachelorette." Further bashing ABC for using a Black woman to get off the hook, a viewer tweeted: "#Bachelorette Having Brianna hugging Zach as a Black Bachelorette with a rose, is not going to the change the fact that Bachelor producers @ABCNetwork and Jesse Palmer didn't address Ehrich's Blackface photo. #thebachelorette." Another tweet read: "ok i don’t need to catch up. #TheBachelorette #TheBachelor swore they’d do better with the racism and then completely ignore the winner doing blackface."





'The Bachelorette' Season 19 is available for streaming on ABC.

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