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Former NBA star blasts ABC for lack of 'diversity' in reality show casts

(Image source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A former NBA star is speaking out against the lack of "diversity" on reality TV shows, but there's one in particular he's calling attention to.

In a column published by the Hollywood Reporter on Monday, retired Los Angeles Lakers player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar criticized ABC's "The Bachelor" for creating a false "fairytale" about love and romance.

To make his point, Abdul-Jabbar cited a study that found Millennials today are having less sex than previous generations. While that may seem like a "move in the right moral direction," he added, the reality is that an increasing number of people are increasing their love for other people with "the shelf life of Wonder Bread."

"There is an insidious darkness beneath the fairytale pabulum they are serving up," the former NBA star said of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" franchises, specifically. A common mantra of the show, which is now in its 21st season, is that "everyone deserves love." But by ABC's own standards, Abdul-Jabbar argued, that could not be farther from the truth:

You’re not even in the running for love unless you fit a very narrow ideal of Ken and Barbie doll physical beauty. These shows promote the scorched-earth effects of raising females to be continually judged physically above all other attributes and then measured against impossible physical standards that has marginalized a majority of girls and women — and made billions for the beauty products, clothing, and cosmetic surgery industries.

But the "real crime," Abdul-Jabbar added, is the "lack of intellectual and appearance diversity.

In 21 seasons, there has never been a black Bachelor or Bachelorette. There have been a number of minority contestants, but none of them have gone on to win the heart of the person they hoped to marry.

"If you’re black on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, you’re usually kept around as a courtesy for a few weeks before being ejected," the former basketball star added.

According to Pew Research, about 12 percent of new marriages 2013 were between Americans of different races — an all-time high since 1967, the year the Supreme Court voted to end the ban on interracial marriage in 16 states. Among all marriages in the U.S., that percentage in 2013 was 6.3. percent. However, that's still more than six times the number it was in 1970.

The data do not take into account the number of "interethnic" marriages, such as unions between Hispanics and non-Hispanics.

In addition, the percentage of Americans who say more interracial marriages would be a "good thing for society" has been steadily climbing throughout the past several years. In 2010, 24 percent of Americans looked favorably upon interracial marriage as it relates to overall society. Just four years later, in 2014, 37 percent of Americans said interracial marriage would be a good thing for the country. This data would seem to suggest that Jabbar may be right about television not following society's lead.

A representative for Disney, the parent company of ABC, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheBlaze on Wednesday.

Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment, discussed the controversy surrounding the show's diversity — or lack thereof — in August, telling reporters: “I would very much like to see some changes there, and I think one of the biggest changes that we need to do is we need to increase the pool of diverse candidates in the beginning."

"Part of what ends up happening as we go along is there just aren’t as many candidates," Dungey said, the Huffington Post reported.

Abdul-Jabar, who is Muslim, has never been one to hold back his views on some of the most hot-button issues of the day. He's spoken out about how Americans view his religion, the Black Lives Matter movement and even San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

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