You may have been hearing a lot about The Bachelor franchise lately. This show, which has been running for nearly 20 years, is problematic as ever, but I keep coming back to watch because I love a cheesy love story and manufactured drama.
Of late, though, the franchise and its associated shows, contestants, and former-contestants-turned-influencers keep getting caught in problematic behavior — usually through a racist post, Instagram like, or old photo that’s been dug up. Bachelor Nation’s (the term for the larger ecosystem of contestants, producers, and fans) latest scandal broke on Sunday, February 28, with former contestant Taylor Nolan at the center.
A slew of Nolan’s shameful and deeply concerning tweets spanning 2011 to 2014 have made their rounds on the internet, including racist, fatphobic, and ableist material. And then there were her tweets about Jews. So, let’s discuss the controversy at hand, and please keep in mind that triggering topics will be discussed.
Who is Taylor Nolan?
Taylor Nolan, a licensed mental health counselor from Seattle who identifies as biracial, appeared on Nick Viall’s season of The Bachelor in 2017. After a controversial two-on-one date with concerning racialized undertones, Nolan was eliminated from the competition by Nick. She appeared on Bachelor in Paradise later that year, the summer-aired show where eliminated contestants from both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette congregate beachside, fall in love, and get more Instagram followers engaged.
Since 2017, Taylor has been one of the most vocal former contestants speaking out against the franchise’s persistent problem with race. As a Black-identifying woman challenging the white-normative culture of the Bachelor franchise, she has received a significant amount of harassment, trolling, and hate on social media.
Why is she suddenly at the center of a controversy?
Up until this moment, Nolan was calling on the franchise to fire longtime host Chris Harrison after his inappropriate comments defending current contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s racist behavior, including attending an antebellum formal in 2018. However, the recently surfaced tweets from Taylor displayed numerous offensive comments towards Asian people, fatphobic views, ableist slurs, and you guessed it, antisemitic language, to name just a few. In fact, listing the marginalized groups she insulted in these tweets may put me over the word count.
To be clear, there is no doubt these tweets are beyond horrific, but it is important to note here there is likely harmful intent behind their resurfacing: to attack Taylor for her activist work within the franchise, and specifically calling for Chris Harrison’s removal.
What were the offensive tweets about Jews?
So far, three of Nolan’s tweets have surfaced with references to Jews or Judaism. In the first tweet from 2012, Nolan comments on the people who frequent Cold Stone Creamery. She notes the population of Cold Stone is “fat asians…fat white people…Jews…and skinny black [people].” This tweet is… odd. While simply stating Jews like Cold Stone is obviously not antisemitic (who doesn’t like ice cream?), in light of her other tweets demonstrating anti-Asian racism, anti-Black racism, and fatphobia, this tweet raises eyebrows. It calls her attitudes towards other marginalized groups into question, even if we’re not entirely sure what the point of her listing off these details was.
In 2013, Nolan complained about the amount of Judaism-related material she was assigned to read in her religion course, which also isn’t particularly damning on its own. However, one month later, she posted an antisemitic and highly insensitive tweet using the word “Jew” as a verb. She wrote, “while playing call of duty, my boyfriend says ‘I keep getting JEWED in this game!’…..he’s getting jewed everyone…#videogames #boyfriends” Embarrassing hashtags aside, this is bad. ‘Jew’ as a verb is often used to describe feelings of being cheated or ripped off. This usage invokes age-old antisemitic tropes of Jews as greedy, money-hungry, and dishonest.
She clearly did not learn from her religion class at all.
Repeat after me: We do not use Jew as a verb. We don’t repeat it when our #boyfriend shouts it during Call of Duty. We don’t double down and gleefully write “he’s getting jewed everyone.” We don’t put it online.
How has she responded to the controversy?
Taylor’s initial apology, presented first as an Instagram post (since deleted) and then an IGTV video, was addressed to “my BIPOC community.” In these apologies, she discussed her past experience with internalized white supremacy. Many accused her of centering herself rather than the communities harmed by her behavior. A follow-up apology story (since deleted) and post expanded on the original and acknowledged that other communities were harmed by her actions.
Another apology post on Monday, March 1, specifically acknowledged some of the communities harmed, including Jews — “To the Asian, the Jewish, and BIPOC community, I’m sorry for how my words perpetuated unfounded and damaging stereotypes” — but has been criticized for failing to acknowledge the ableist harm she also perpetuated. She also posted a short Instagram story, referring to “the terrible, incredibly fucked up things that were said in my tweets.”
In the first apology video on IGTV, Taylor claimed she left the offensive tweets up because she has been on a journey, and believed that her anti-racist activism speaks for itself. In recent months, she has addressed topics such as ableism and fatphobia on her Instagram, which largely features sex-positive and anti-racist content.
What has been the response to her response?
Her initial responses to her Twitter history understandably upset many fans and fellow Bachelor Nation figures. The initial apologies, addressed to the BIPOC community, left out the numerous other communities she harmed through her behavior. She also did not acknowledge that many people may experience intersectional harm from her past behavior, such as BIPOC and Asian Jews.
Let’s hope that in the coming days, she can address how she insulted specific communities and identities, and share concrete steps she is taking to address these harms. As a Jewish fan, I also hope she can better understand how doing things like using “Jew” as a verb perpetuates a culture in which antisemitism finds its footing and grows into prejudice, violence, and hatred towards our community.
A final note…
Taylor Nolan is a Black-identifying woman and, while her tweets were inexcusable, she is continuously subjected to racist trolling and harassment for her anti-racism advocacy. Her tweets were deplorable, but her past behavior does not excuse anti-Black racism, AT ALL. If you feel tempted to admonish Taylor Nolan but think Rachael Kirkconnell just made a small mistake, check your bias at the door!