From breakups to makeups and every thing in between, Bachelor Nation has seen all of it — and it hasn’t all the time been fairly.
Loyal followers of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette typically put within the work to uncover secrets and techniques from contestants’ pasts as they seek for love on the ABC actuality franchise. Throughout Matt James‘ historic season, which kicked off in January 2021, frontrunner Rachael Kirkconnell sparked main controversy when viewers referred to as her social media historical past into query.
The graphic designer came under fire shortly after season 25 of The Bachelor premiered when one TikTok person accused her of being racist in highschool. Because the season continued, extra details about Kirkconnell’s previous got here to gentle in separate TikTok posts and footage of her at an antebellum-themed frat party in 2018 resurfaced on-line. She broke her silence in a prolonged Instagram assertion in February 2021.
“Whereas there have been rumors circulating, there have additionally been truths which have come to gentle that I want to deal with. I hear you, and I’m here to say I was wrong,” she wrote. “At one level, I didn’t acknowledge how offensive and racist my actions have been, however that doesn’t excuse them. My age or when it occurred doesn't excuse something. They aren't acceptable or okay in any sense. I used to be ignorant, however my ignorance was racist.”
Kirkconnell stated that she was “sorry to the communities and people that [her] actions harmed and offended” and blamed her ignorance on her “lack of schooling.” She additionally inspired Bachelor Nation followers to make use of her errors as a “teachable second.”
Earlier than the fact star addressed the controversy, host Chris Harrison requested viewers to have “compassion” for Kirkconnell throughout an interview with the franchise’s first Black Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay.
“I've seen some stuff on-line. Once more, this decide, jury, executioner factor the place persons are simply tearing this girl’s life apart … Till I truly hear this girl have an opportunity to talk, who am I to say any of this … I noticed an image of her at a sorority social gathering 5 years in the past that’s it,” Harrison stated on the time. “My guess? These women acquired dressed up and went to a celebration and had a good time, they have been 18 years outdated. Now, does that make it OK? I don’t know Rachel, you inform me. Have been all of us trying by [that lens] in 2018?”
Harrison faced backlash for his feedback, with followers and members of Bachelor Nation taking goal. After posting an apology on-line, the Bachelor host introduced in February 2021 that he was taking a temporary break from internet hosting Matt James‘ season. “I've consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and might be stepping apart for a time frame and won't be a part of for the After the Remaining Rose particular,” the Texas native stated in a prolonged Instagram submit. “I'm devoted to getting educated on a extra profound and productive degree than ever earlier than.”
Kirkconnell isn’t the primary contestant to be criticized for racially insensitive habits. Hannah Brown, the season 15 Bachelorette, issued a public apology in Could 2020 when she was caught saying the N-word whereas singing along to DaBaby‘s “Rockstar” on Instagram Stay.
“I don’t need to be ignorant anymore,” Brown stated on the time, telling her followers to not “defend” her habits. “I don’t need to be an ignorant white girl who makes use of the N-word. However I additionally don’t need be somebody who goes on their platform intoxicated and engages with their platform that manner. … I've realized that there are issues that I can not say. … There's a lot extra historic context that I didn’t know that makes it a lot extra inappropriate.”
The Alabama native concluded, “I'll hold doing no matter I can to study extra and assist the answer in all this. … Lots of people hurting and lots of people indignant, rightfully.”
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