Rachel Lindsay is weighing in on the news that Tayshia Adams will be stepping in as the newest Bachelorette, telling Entertainment Tonight she is "thrilled" to see ABC cast the second-ever Black lead of the popular dating show. Lindsay, who paved the way as the first Black Bachelorette in 2017, has been a vocal proponent of the network choosing more diverse casts, threatening earlier this year to disassociate herself from the franchise if it didn't make an active effort to cast BIPOC.
"When I stepped in as Bachelorette, I wanted to pave a way for more diversity, for more people who look like me and who didn’t look like the typical lead," Lindsay told the outlet Monday. "So to see another Bachelorette of color, I’m thrilled." She added that while "fighting for inclusion," she has previously championed Adams as "an excellent Bachelorette," making her "more than happy to pass the torch" on to The Bachelor alum, who first competed on Colton Underwood's season. Lindsay concluded, "I am so excited to see what she’s going to do, how she will represent herself and her journey to find love. Now she’s in the driver’s seat, and I’m excited to see her get this opportunity."
Reports surfaced Monday in numerous publications that the ABC show had cast a new lead for Season 16 just two weeks into filming with Clare Crawley, who was announced as the Bachelorette in early March before production was shut down due to the coronavirus. "There are other single women in Bachelor Nation that the show could’ve chosen, and there were other alumni who were considered for this role, so I am really happy they chose Tayshia," Lindsay said of the recasting efforts. "I do still want to see some additional producers of all colors brought in, but change is being made and I’m happy to see it. I’d love to get to shut up about all this and step back, and this is a big step towards that. I will watch this season as a proud fan."
Sources told PEOPLE that Crawley was replaced because she fell for one of her suitors so much that she didn't want to continue with the process, reportedly getting engaged to Dale Moss. "One of her potential guys found a way to get in touch with her and they began talking," the source explained of how the two communicated outside the show during the shooting shutdown. "By the time filming officially began, they were basically already in love. No one else stood a chance. It just became so obvious from her subsequent few dates that her heart wasn’t in it and she just wasn’t feeling it. Then she said she wanted out."