She’s also been dealing with endless speculation about her relationship with fellow Bachelor alumn, Abbie Chatfield, who appeared on Brooke’s finale week as a quote-unquote ‘friend’. (We’re using that term to signify the ‘official role’ Abbie played when appearing on the season, rather than speculating about their relationship at this point.)
Abbie made headlines when she started dating Konrad Bien-Stephens, a contestant on Brooke’s season. The catch? Konrad’s episodes of The Bachelorette were still airing, meaning the pap shots of himself and Abbie were spoilers for the show---a move insiders are saying has permanently damaged Abbie’s relationship with Channel 10. Abbie has also been teasing the relationship on Instagram, going from a soft-launch into the hard-launch reveal. When your business is content creation, a new relationship is a content field day, right?
The nature of Abbie and Brooke’s relationship ever since has been in the headlines all week. On Thursday, Brooke went public with her thoughts.
“I’m not a hostile person and literally do not have any hate in my heart," Brooke said on her Instagram Story.
"Everyone who watched the show, or was on the show cast and/or working as crew, will know that I put my heart and should into it and it meant a lot for me to open myself up so vulnerably like that. Not only that but for what it meant for the LGBTQIA+ and First Nations Community to have that display of representation.
“Which moves onto my new point. The hardest point.
"For that to be tainted ONCE again by
- To what I thought was a close friend
- Another white woman displaying what white privilege looks like
- A very clear display of narcissism
"Hurts me. Literally pains me.
"I’ve reached out to this person to resolve this ‘conflict’ which in fact, classic naive me, adult me want to this person to communicate openly about the layers of complexity that this person’s actions show and take away from NOT only me but what it meant for a queer woman of colour. If this wasn’t me. I’d still have this stance.
"You guys asked for my comment. There it is. Now go give them more air time which is exactly what this is about."
It’s important to note straight away that Brooke didn’t name Abbie – although it doesn’t take much reading between the lines to reach that conclusion.
It’s also not the first time Brooke has expressed dismay at how her season ended, tweeting on the night of the finale that “this level of biphobia [on Twitter] is hugely disappointing”.
The drama of how The Bachelorette ended has completely clouded what a ground-breaking season this was. And because Brooke was, for many people, the ‘obvious choice’, we’re forgetting what an incredible choice she was, too.
In a world first, a Bachelor season had contestants of two different genders. In an Australian first, we had an Indigenous woman as our Bachelorette. The Bachelor franchise has long been associated with a blinding white portrayal of the worst kind of heteronormativity. Generic-looking hot women, fighting for the one man? Sure, okay.
Instead, we got to see queer love (and more dramatically, queer yearning) play out on primetime television. We saw how natural it feels to include a Welcome to Country ceremony as part of the show. We saw non-Indigenous people confront hard truths about themselves and how they view Aboriginal land. These conversations aren’t nothing.
Brooke’s season deserves to be remembered for more than a fight between two women.
And since we have a hint that the 2022 Bachelor Australia season may just feature a queer man as lead, let's hope there's less controversy and more a celebration of love.