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'The Bachelor's Maquel Cooper apologizes after being blasted for racially insensitive Instagram photo

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 01/08/2018 

The Bachelor's Maquel Cooper has issued an apology for a throwback photo on her Instagram account that has been deemed racially offensive.

Maquel, a 23-year-old wedding photographer and model from Orem, UT, posted a picture on Instagram back in November 2012 that showed herself posing with two girlfriends in brownface makeup and drawn-on facial hair, appearing to mock Mexicans, TV Guide reported.

The since-deleted picture was captioned by Maquel: "Insane night. #tbt #marco #jose @louie #ugly #pranknight #bff #mexicans #baileywoolley #reesehigbee."

A Reddit user posted the throwback photo in which Maquel had given herself a dark mustache, unibrow and goatee on Saturday, writing alongside it, "[Maquel], maybe before considering yourself a 'public figure' on instagram, look back at your old posts to make sure you don't come across as a racist."

In a statement to TV Guide, Maquel apologized and seemed totally ashamed of her social-media post.

"Five years ago, I made a regretful choice for a costume," she said. "It came at a time when I was unenlightened and uninformed. I apologize to anybody who was offended by my choices. I am sorry for what I did and take full responsibility for my mistake."

Maquel responded once critics raced to Reddit to bash Arie Luyendyk Jr.'s Season 22 bachelorette.

"What an absolute piece of garbage," one user wrote.

"I don't care how long ago or not long ago it was. If you're an adult who is racist you suck and I've lost any sense of respect for you. There are no excuses for racism," another wrote.

"How is she that oblivious?" a third user wrote. "And how did the producers not notice that sh-t and say something before all of us found it?... I just don't understand how that first picture made it past the customary social media scrub."

An ABC representative told TV Guide that the network does "not condone her behavior," adding that they were "disappointed" to see Maquel's post and were glad she made "a formal apology."

Arie also admitted on Monday that he was surprised to see Maquel's old photo.

"I'm a little disappointed to hear that, obviously," he said. "It's unfortunate."

The Bachelor's next episode airs on Monday, January 8, and Maquel -- who made a huge impression on Arie on Night 1 by arriving in a race car -- is one of 21 bachelorettes still in the running for his heart.

Maquel Cooper/Instagram

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