A petition to axe an upcoming Netflix series starring former Bachelor US star Colton Underwood, who recently came out as gay, has earned almost 20,000 signatures over claims he stalked his ex-girlfriend Cassie Randolph.
Randolph, who won Underwood's season of The Bachelor, filed a restraining order against her former partner in September last year. Court documents showed he was accused of placing a tracking device on her vehicle, stalking her apartment and her parent's home, and sending threatening texts to her and her loved ones.
Underwood made headlines with an emotional interview on Good Morning America last week, in which he revealed he had come to terms with his sexuality after "hating himself for a long time".
Shortly after, Netflix announced they were producing an unscripted series with the former professional football player about his life as an out gay man, prompting backlash from Bachelor fans who said Underwood's harassment of Randolph meant Netflix should drop him.
"Cassie is a victim of Colton's abuse, and he does not deserve a platform in any way," a Change.org petition titled 'Cancel Colton Underwood's Netflix Documentary' read.
"Regardless of his sexuality, Colton should not be given a platform as a result of his abusive, manipulative, and dangerous behaviour."
At the time of writing, over 19,800 people had signed the petition. Meanwhile, others took to Twitter to share their outrage.
"Colton coming out doesn’t erase the fact that he stalked and terrorized his previous girlfriend," one user wrote.
Host of the unofficial Bachelor podcast Baby Got Bach Brett S Vergara tweeted: "First, I'm glad to see Colton more at peace and happy he can live more as his true authentic self. I'll always be in support of that. That doesn't excuse the abusive, manipulative, and literally illegal stalking behaviour he displayed in his past relationship."
"While context sheds light on the situation, it does not excuse, change, or even minimize that hurt and pain caused by those actions."
Randolph dropped her restraining order against Underwood and requested police drop their investigation in November 2020, at which time Underwood released a statement saying the pair had been able to reach "a private agreement to address any of Cassie's concerns".
"I do not believe Cassie did anything wrong in filing for the restraining orders and also believe she acted in good faith," Underwood said at the time. The former Bachelor star has not yet commented on the controversy around his new show.
Meanwhile, Randolph thanked her fans for their support in a brief message on Instagram and the "kind comments and messages" she had received since Underwood's Good Morning America interview.