Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell is breaking her silence after being accused of racism for previous comments and her choice to participate in an “Old South” plantation themed party. She is competing for Matt James‘ love, the first Black Bachelor. She wrote on Instagram: “While there have been rumors circulating, there have also been truths that have come to light that I need to address. I hear you, and I’m here to say I was wrong. At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them. My age or when it happened does not excuse anything. They are not acceptable or okay in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.”
The 24-year-old continued, “I am sorry to the communities and individuals that my actions harmed and offended. I am ashamed about my lack of education, but it is no one’s responsibility to educate me. I am learning and will continue to learn how to be antiracist, because it’s important to speak up in the moment and not after you’re called out. If you are a person who doesn’t understand the offense in question, I urge you to learn from my mistakes and encourage you to use them as a teachable moment.”
She concluded her post, “Racial progress and unity are impossible without (white) accountability, and I deserve to be held accountable for my actions. I will never grow unless I recognize what I have done is wrong. I don’t think one apology means that I deserve your forgiveness, but rather I hope I can earn your forgiveness through my future actions.”
Shortly after her statement, her season 25 costars responded.
“We are the women of Bachelor Season 25. Twenty-five women who identify as BIPOC were cast on this historic season that was meant to represent change. We are deeply disappointed and want to make it clear that we denounce any defense of racism. Any defense of racist behavior denies the lived and continued experience of BIPOC individuals. These experiences are not to be exploited or tokenized,” the group wrote. “Rachel Lindsay continues to advocate with ‘grace’ for individuals who identify as BIPOC within this franchise. Just because she is speaking the loudest, doesn’t mean she is alone. We stand with her, we hear her, and we advocate for change alongside her.”
Rachel Lindsay, the first Black Bachelorette, wants to cut ties with Bachelor Nation after multiple problematic interactions with the powers that be at the ABC show. Host Chris Harrison recently apologized to fans and to her for defending Rachael’s behavior to her, but it seems that she just can’t take it anymore.
On her podcast Higher Learning, she said: “I can’t take it anymore. I’m contractually bound in some ways. But when it’s up, I am too. I can’t do it anymore.”
Matt thanked her. “I am beyond grateful to have Rachel as a mentor during this season,” the 29-year-old Bachelor wrote via Instagram Stories. “Your advocacy of BIPOC people in the franchise is invaluable, I stand with you and the rest of the women advocating for change and accountability.”
Longtime host Harrison has heeded the calls for his dismissal following his controversial interview with Rachel.
“This historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions,” the longtime host, 49, wrote in a lengthy statement shared via Instagram on Saturday, February 13. “To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special. I am dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before. I want to ensure our cast and crew members, to my friends, colleagues and our fans: this is not just a moment, but a commitment to much greater understanding that I will actively make every day.”