'Bachelorette' alum Mike Johnson calls Hannah Brown's use of the N-word 'unacceptable'
More members of "Bachelor" Nation are speaking out after former star Hannah Brown came under fire for using the N-word during an Instagram Live stream over the weekend.
Mike Johnson, a contestant on Brown's season of "The Bachelorette" and a frontrunner among fans to become the franchise's first black male lead, called her actions "unacceptable."
"She shouldn't have said the N-word," he said in a video for TMZ. "It's pretty damn simple to me."
In the now-removed video, still posted on TMZ and social media, Brown used the racial slur while apparently trying to remember the lyrics to DaBaby's "Rockstar." She stopped herself, but then continued with the song.
Brown later addressed her word usage after fans called her out in the Instagram Live comments. "I did? I'm so sorry… No, I was singing… I'm so sorry," she said.
She followed up with a full apology Sunday, saying there was "no excuse" for using the racial slur incorporated into her rendition of a popular song.
"I owe you all a major apology," Brown wrote in an Instagram Story. "There is no excuse and I will not justify what I said. I have read your messages and seen the hurt I have caused. I own it all. I am terribly sorry and know that whether in public or private, this language is unacceptable. I promise to do better."
Johnson also slammed those on social media who criticized him for not speaking out right away, claiming he hadn't been on his phone much and still hasn't seen the video.
"I look at my phone and I see a few people coming at me because I'm not defending women of color," he said. "Because of something that Hannah Brown did."
He added: "What Hannah did was unacceptable. Issues like this bring light to the bridge of pop culture and racism within our country. I'm inviting her and everyone to a conversation, in hopes to educate everyone that this type of behavior needs to be changed and is unacceptable. My aim is that in this moment we don't divide, we come together, learn from this and create change for the better."
Rachel Lindsay, the "Bachelor" franchise's first and only black lead, responded to Brown's comments without directly naming names, telling followers in an Instagram Live stream Sunday night that she was "tired of feeling like I have to be the one to speak because other people won't."
"I'm personally offended by what was done," Lindsay added, without directly name-dropping Brown. "I thought, 'Let me use this to challenge this person to use their platform, because last night it was used in a different way. So let me challenge them to use it in a better way. Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe they didn't understand the intention behind it."
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Lindsay said she "gave somebody the opportunity" to fix the issue and "it wasn't done."
"I understand that an apology was made, but when I know what could have been done, when I know what I challenged someone to do, they did not do it. So I felt like I'll use my platform to do it, because it's easy to make a statement. It's easy to hide behind words. But when you're bold enough to say the N-word on camera, on your platform… you need to be bold enough to use your face on camera and apologize in the same way that you said the word."
Contributing: Bryan Alexander