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Lee Garrett on The Bachelorette's Men Tell All Special 2017

The Bachelorette's "Men Tell All" Special Confronts Racist Contestant Lee Garrett

Now that the dust surrounding Bachelor in Paradise's high-profile controversy has settled, Bachelor Nation tackled another uncomfortable situation on Monday night during The Bachelorette's "Men Tell All" special. Back in June, it was revealed that one of the men competing for Rachel Lindsay's heart, Lee Garrett, had tweeted a string of racist and sexist remarks throughout 2015 and 2016. Since Lindsay is the first black Bachelorette in the show's history, the revelation was made that much worse, and Garrett was forced to address his comments during the special two-hour episode.

"It's a hard thing to say that you were, or are, a racist," host Chris Harrison said before sharing Garrett's tweets with the audience, including one that read, "What's the difference between the NAACP and the KKK? Wait for it.....One has the sense of shame to cover their racist ass faces." Garrett attempted to skirt around his past comments, but the tweets naturally brought about some harsh responses from several of his fellow contestants, including Bachelor in Paradise alum DeMario Jackson and 28-year-old prosecuting attorney Josiah Graham, both of whom are black.

"Why did you come on the show where the Bachelorette was African-American?" Graham asked Garrett. "If, on the other hand, you're tweeting about black people and groups of black people who fought and died so I can be on the stage next to you. People came before me so that I can go to the same school like you, so I can drink from the fountain like you, and if you're comparing them to the KKK, people who hanged my ancestors — why are you trying to date a woman who looks like me?"

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At first it seemed like Garrett wasn't going to own up to his tweets, but eventually he acknowledged what he'd done and apologized. "I completely denounce that, and I denounce that Lee," he said. "I want to learn . . . I'm sorry for saying things when I was not educated and ignorant in those subjects. That tweet was racist and I denounce it."

Lindsay herself also appeared on the special, where she explained why she didn't find out about the tweets immediately since filming The Bachelorette is like living in a bubble. "I'm not in the house, and I only know what's happening right in front of me, so to sit back and see things that I've never seen before, it's very enlightening," she told Harrison. "I'm black. I knew it would be something to talk about, but it wasn't something that we had to continually go on and on and on about when I had the relationship with the men, which I appreciated. They were trying to get to know me. Race wasn't an issue for me as I was going through the season. No one made me feel when I was with them one-on-one a certain way."

She also addressed Garrett directly, saying how he threw away an opportunity to be surrounded by a diverse group of people. "I hope that in watching it back, you realize that you were a part of something so great," she said. "But in case you didn't, please know that you can exit stage left and meet me backstage, and I will be more than happy to give you a black history lesson, a lesson on women's rights."

Next week's three-hour episode of The Bachelorette will reveal who Lindsay decides to gift the final rose — Eric Bigger, Bryan Abasolo, or Peter Kraus — and hopefully afterward, she'll live happily ever after and likely forget Garrett ever existed.

Image Source: ABC
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