The finale of “The Bachelorette” aired on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, wrapping up the loose ends for Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey’s season.
Host Jesse Palmer led the conversations throughout the night, and brought up some tough points for discussion, including Recchia’s breakup with Tino Franco and Schwer’s text messages from a relationship that he had before leaving for the show. However, there was one thing that Palmer didn’t bring up — and that was the photo of Schwer in blackface that was shared on the internet earlier in the month.
On September 8, 2022, a photo of Schwer in his high school yearbook was posted online. The picture showed Schwer dressed up like Jimi Hendrix — in full blackface. Schwer was quick to take accountability for the photo and he apologized by way of a public statement posted on his Instagram account — but the photo wasn’t mentioned on “After the Final Rose” — and several people noticed.
Here’s what you need to know:
Rachel Lindsay & Thomas Jacobs Expressed Disappointment Over the Photo Being Ignored
A few past “Bachelor” stars, including former “Bachelorette” Rachel Lindsay and “Bachelor in Paradise” star Thomas Jacobs, spoke out about the decision to not discuss the picture.
“So, we’re just not going to talk about the blackface? Guess we’ll sweep it under the rug,” Jacobs said in a video posted on his Instagram Stories the night of the finale.
“Not gonna lie, pretty disappointed that they didn’t address the issues that were going on outside of those text messages. At this point, if you’re on social media, we’ve all seen it. Especially in the specific context of racial relations when it comes to this franchise in particular … to have a scenario like this and to just not even bring it to light, especially after everything that’s happened bringing us to this point over the last three years … it’s pretty disappointing,” he added.
Lindsay had a similar take.
“Sigh, somebody has to say it… This is the picture they should’ve posted an address tonight in the finale instead of the text from the ex. They really missed the mark on the unnecessary and important conversation that was intentionally not conveyed. This was an opportunity for @erich_schwer to put action to his IG post rather than hide behind it. Unfortunately, not all of us can hide in the same way when we are so highly offended by it,” she posted on her Instagram Stories.
Schwer & Windey Have Both Spoken Out About the Offensive Photo
While the show was still airing, Schwer posted an apology on social media.
“I wholeheartedly apologize for the insensitive photo of me in Blackface from my high school yearbook that has been circulating. What I thought at the time was a representation of my love for Jimi Hendrix, was nothing but ignorance. I was naïve to the hurtful implications of my actions to the Black community and those closest to me, and will forever regret my offensive and damaging behavior. I am deeply ashamed by my actions and understand that my apology is only the first step in taking accountability,” Schwer wrote on Instagram.
After the finale aired, People magazine ran an exclusive interview with Windey in which she addressed the controversial yearbook photo for the first time.
“I was incredibly shocked. [I] just really had to process my thoughts and then think about how we can grow as a couple and learn from this,” she told the outlet.
“Ultimately it was a time for us to take a step back and reflect on our relationship and see if we can get through this. You have to really lead on your communication, be really honest with each other while having these tough conversations. We’re seeing how we can become better from both,” she continued, adding, “Our commitment to each other is there. Now it’s just doing the hard work, which is getting to know each other, more communication, really strengthening those building blocks before we get to the altar.”