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Colton Underwood Discusses His 'Privilege' as a White Gay Man

Colton Underwood on Logo Live

Former Bachelor star Colton Underwood is addressing privilege and accountability in a new interview.

Underwood came into the spotlight initially in a series of appearances on the Bachelor franchise. He first appeared on The Bachelor in 2018 before appearing on Bachelor in Paradise and then leading The Bachelor in 2019 for season 23. At the time he was marketed as the famed "virgin" bachelor.

A former NFL player, Underwood came out as gay earlier this year and became the subject of intense backlash and scrutiny that only intensified when it leaked he would be the subject of a new Netflix docuseries about his coming-out journey. Much of the criticism centered around Underwood's troubled past as he stalked Cassie Randolph, the woman he gave his final rose to on The Bachelor. Randolph once filed a restraining order against Underwood that she later dropped. 

In a new interview, Underwood says looking back at the video footage of his "coming-out" moment on Good Morning America, he can still see that he had shame at the time. He also reflected on the public reaction as well, noting that there was "a lot of noise" from the Bachelor Nation, with people accusing him of wasting their time on the show. 

"I was so caught up in how relieving it was for me that I didn't really think of the public perception of it all," he told Johnny Sibilly, actor and host of Logo Live. He went on, addressing other criticisms including those around "some of my actions and behavior from when I was closeted, especially the last year of my closeted self. Some of [that backlash] was rightfully so, but others were a little bit taken out of context and that part was challenging."

In the interview, Underwood said he reads all of the comments including the deepest criticisms and sometimes sees the validity in the words, thinking, "I deserve that, I completely deserve that, and the only way I can earn your trust back is by showing you I'm going to do the work, showing you that I'm going to ask the hard questions." 

"I want to be challenged, I want to be held accountable," he continued. And though that is all true he also admits that the immediate backlash made him felt "I was like the new kid at school and nobody wanted to play with me."

Sibilly, who is set to star in Peacock's upcoming Queer as Folk reboot and had a key role in Pose, asked Underwood directly about his privilege and a thread of criticism that believes others are more deserving of a show and a platform. 

"I just never thought about comparing traumas or comparing people's stories. they're all unique," Underwood responded. "I was in a position where I was already in front of cameras, and also unless you've been in a locker room, I don't think people really realize how homophobic it is and how hard it can be for athletes. Right now it's 2021 and we finally have the first openly gay football player playing. When you really boil that down, I think we aren't as far along as we think we are as a culture."

He went on to say that there's a lot of responsibility that comes with privilege. "It's also an opportunity for me to help out other people who might not have that privilige, to learn from them, to amplify their voices, to share their stories."

"I also think people should look at this as an opportunity for me to help bridge or to educate a lot of conservative America because, coming from a show like The Bachelor, that's a large part of that fan base," he continued.  "I think that's been at least my reflection when people say 'You have the privilege.' I'm like 'Damn right I do, and I'm going to try my hardest to make it all worthwhile for everybody and have a positive come from this.'"

Underwood's new six-episode show, Coming Out Colton, will be available on Netflix Friday. It will follow his coming-out journey and reportedly address the controversy surrounding his coming-out. 

 

Tags: People

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