Former Bachelor star and NFL player Colton Underwood shocked the world last week when he came out as gay in an interview with Good Morning America. The very same day, entertainment publication Variety reported that Netflix is developing an unscripted reality show with Underwood that will focus on him “living his life publicly as a gay man” with the help of “gay guide” Gus Kenworthy, an out Olympic freestyle skier.
Although Underwood’s coming out was warmly received by many, a petition seeks to highlight the reality star’s abusive past while calling for the cancellation of his forthcoming Netflix series.
The description of the petition—which had over 22,000 signatures at the time of publication—alleges that Underwood stalked his ex, Cassie Randolph, whom he met on Season 23 of The Bachelor. After the show aired, Underwood allegedly “placed a tracker on her car, sent her and her friends anonymous threatening texts, and was even seen standing outside her window extremely late in the night, resulting in her brother attempting to de-escalate the situation.”
“Cassie is a victim of Colton’s abuse, and he does not deserve a platform in any way,” the petition reads. “Regardless of his sexuality, Colton should not be given a platform as a result of his abusive, manipulative, and dangerous behavior.”
Randolph filed a restraining order against Underwood last September, although it was later lifted after the pair were able to resolve their disputes privately. The petition also includes a link to the relevant court records, which describe the behaviors listed in the petition in detail.
The documents allege that Underwood “admitted to his roommate and his roommate’s girlfriend…that he goes on multiple walks a day to Ms. Randolph’s apartment building” and that he had harassed and threatened her verbally following a visit from a friend. Attachments include screenshots of Underwood’s many texts to Randolph and to her friends and family, as well as pictures of the alleged tracking device Underwood placed in Randolph’s car.
Underwood and Randolph’s relationship lasted just over a year, beginning when he gave Randolph the final rose on the long-running reality competition series in March 2019 and ending in now-deleted breakup posts on Instagram in May 2020, according to Us Weekly.
Despite his history of alleged abuse, former contestants on the Bachelor franchise have expressed support for Underwood following his sit-down with Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts. Supporters include former host Chris Harrison, who recently announced he will not host the next season of the show following allegations of on-set racism, and Hannah Brown, who initially appeared as The Bachelorette during the spinoff’s 15th cycle before coming in seventh during Underwood’s season.
“Sending you support every step of the way as you continue to embark on your self-discovery journey,” Brown said in an Instagram story.
For his part, Underwood apologized to Randolph on Good Morning America. “I’m sorry for the pain and emotional stress I caused,” he told Roberts last Monday. “I wish it wouldn’t have happened the way it did. I wish that I would have been courageous enough to fix myself before I broke anybody else.”
While thanking people for their “kind comments and messages,” Randolph said following the segment’s airing that she is taking a week off from her weekly YouTube channel, per Cosmopolitan magazine.
Netflix has not responded to calls to pull the plug on Colton Underwood’s as-yet-untitled series, but these are not the first criticisms aimed at the reality star after his coming out. Former ’NSync member Lance Bass, who famously revealed his sexuality on the cover of People magazine in 2006, predicted backlash if people perceive Underwood as “monetizing the experience” of coming out. In an interview with the reality show podcast The Ben & Ashley I. Almost Famous, Bass instructed Underwood to “sit back, listen, and learn” from the controversy.
“That’s all you need to do right now, is just listen to the community, listen to everyone around you,” he said last week. “Educate yourself and then you’ll naturally find where you belong in this community.”
This post originally appeared on them.