As of last night's Bachelorette premiere, it looks like JoJo Fletcher's season of the ABC reality dating series could be one of the most promisingly diverse in recent memory. Handsome dudes like firefighter Grant, motorcycle-riding Christian, and Ali, the son of Iranian immigrants (JoJo is herself half Iranian), are all seemingly poised to stick around for a while.
There was, however, one glaring exception to this otherwise positive trend: Jon. Poor Jon.
The show's first contestant of Asian descent in years emerged from the limo wearing a kilt. That's a bold fashion choice, but in an episode where a guy introduced himself in a full Santa costume, not even the night's boldest.
Kilt or no kilt, Jon's first encounter with JoJo is doomed from the moment he opens his mouth. "I’m half Chinese and half Scottish. But luckily for me, I’m half Scottish below the waist," he tells her, then adds, "I am not wearing any panties."
We're going to give the show the benefit of the doubt and assume that's a joke that Jon decided to make himself and not one that was fed to him by a producer. Even so, it's downright depressing that—when we finally get to see a man of Asian descent in this franchise, theoretically portrayed as someone worthy of romantic and sexual attraction—his heritage is literally reduced to a punchline, undergirded by a harmful stereotype about penis size.
In the immortal words of Tyra Banks, we were all rooting for you.
Inside the house, the other contestants pile on Jon's traditional Scottish attire, making Jon perhaps the only person in Bachelor history to have been mocked for two different aspects of his cultural background at once. "That’s gotta be one of the worst things you could have possibly chosen to wear on the night you’re going to meet potentially your future wife," says Robby, apparently not a Braveheart fan, in a talking-head interview.
In case The Bachelorette hadn't yet convinced you that it was oddly fixated on Jon's genitals, the camera repeatedly zooms in on his crotch while the men speculate as to whether he’s wearing underwear.
Last night was the last we will see of Jon, who was one of six contestants sent home in the first rose ceremony. The Bachelorette needs better representation, but a kilt and a racist dick joke aren't how they're going to achieve it.
Molly Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Fusion's Pop & Culture section. Her interests include movies about movies, TV shows about TV shows, and movies about TV shows, but not so much TV shows about movies.