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The Bachelorette Season 21 cast
The Bachelorette Season 21 cast
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Culture > Entertainment

Here’s Why ‘Bachelorette’ Fans Are Upset Over This Season 21 Contestant’s Elimination

Season 21 of The Bachelorette, which premiered on July 8, is a must-see for any hopeless romantics this summer (including myself). Bachelorette Jenn’s season is building up to be memorable, not just because she has already made history as the first Asian-American bachelorette in the show’s almost 20-year run, but also because of the drama and anticipation that each episode will bring.

With the new season’s premiere, the show is maintaining its true Bachelor Nation style, with the first episode focusing on viewers getting to know Jenn’s 25 romantic interests, emphasizing their appearances, personalities, and overall showing the lengths each of them were willing to go to make a good first impression on Jenn (I’m looking at you “lovesick” patient Jonathan). However, with every first episode comes the first wave of eliminations, and some pre-established fan favorites were sent packing too soon, leading fans to highlight a larger tendency tied to the Bachelor franchise. 

Jenn sent seven potential suitors home in the last few minutes of the premiere. The eliminated contestants included Matt from Atlanta, Dakota from Paradise Valley, Arizona, Ricky from Miami, Moze from New York, Kevin from Denver, and Brendan from Denver. 

But the contestant fans were the most upset to see get eliminated was Brett Harris. The 28-year-old from Manheim, Pennsylvania, works as a Health & Safety Manager and formerly played football at Millersville University. His show profile briefly tells more about him by pointing out that “Brett has great energy, strong confidence and a lot of personality to go around. Though Brett loves to be the life of the party and won’t turn down anyone who challenges him to a dance-off, underneath his outgoing exterior is an authentic man with a sensitive soul who’s ready to find “the one.”

Brett’s presence on The Bachelorette was one that fans grew to appreciate as he was one of the few plus-sized cast members to appear on the show’s tenure. Back in 2022, an online advocacy campaign called Roses for Everybody was formed on social media, criticizing the franchise for a lack of body inclusivity and size diversity among its cast members. In one post from the campaign, it read, “In 20 years, 44 seasons, 1,100+ contestants, there have only been 2 plus-size people cast by The Bachelor franchise and  they went home night one.”

The advocacy group also expressed their worry when Brett was featured as a cast member this season, telling Yahoo Entertainment, “The Bachelor franchise has had a combined 49 seasons with roughly 1,300 contestants, and Brett will be the third person who would be even remotely considered not thin. Both, before him, were sent home on night one.” The unfortunate trend continues, with Brent being sent home on the first night of the show’s season, leaving viewers unhappy and voicing their opinions on X.

Following the show’s premiere, the trending hashtag #JusticeforBrett has gained attention on X.

This isn’t the first time The Bachelor franchise has been embroiled in controversy over the its lack of diversity. Let’s not forget that the first Black Bachelorette didn’t appear until 2017 with Rachel Lindsay leading Season 13, which is even more disappointing given that the show has been airing since 2002. Since Rachel’s season, there have only been three other Black bachelorettes: the most current Bachelorette alumni, Charity Lawson from Season 20, Michelle Young from Season 18, and Tayshia Adams from Season 16, where she only appeared for half of the season after replacing Clare Crawley.

Even Jenn’s season was questioned for a lack of diversity among cast members, with fans criticizing the show for the absence of Asian men. In an interview with Glamour, Jenn responded to the criticism and expressed her disappointment in the casting selection, saying, “I can’t really speak to the casting process and the decisions that were made, but it is unfortunate that there weren’t a lot of Asian men this season. Asian men haven’t always seen themselves in this position, and I am hoping that me being here and Thomas N. being there, that the both of us can inspire other Asian men to realize that they can do this too if they want. They can be in this position as well. I’m hoping that it inspires them.”

Brett’s departure from Season 21’s premiere episode highlights a much wider, long-standing issue of the lack of diversity in media, which the Bachelor series continues to perpetuate even after efforts are made.

Siobhan Robinson is a member of the Her Campus national writing program. She works on the Entertainment and Culture team, covering the most recent pop culture events, trends, and entertainment releases. Previously, she worked as an Entertainment and Culture intern during the Spring 2023 semester, where she was supervised in writing breaking news verticals, live coverage of events such as the Grammys and Met Gala, and interviewing emerging Gen Z talent for Her Campus's "Next Questions" segment. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in Spring 2024 with a B.A. in Communication Studies from San Jose State University and received communication honors for completing a graduate-level course during her undergraduate studies. While in college, she was an active member of the SJSU chapter of Her Campus, serving on the executive board as Editor-In-Chief. In this role, she supervised a team of writers, senior editors, and copy editors, and assessed their articles for the site. Previously, she served as a senior editor, supervising a team of 4-5 writers, and also worked as a campus correspondent for the entire chapter. Additionally, she contributed to the school's publication magazine, Access, and became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. In her free time, Siobhan enjoys scrapbooking, hanging out with friends, going to concerts, and, of course, writing for fun! A die-hard fangirl, she loves sharing everything she knows about her favorite boy bands, even if you don't ask. If you need her, you'll likely find her binge-watching the latest K-drama or catching up on pop-culture social commentaries on YouTube.