Rachael Kirkconnell's mom defends Rachael amid racism controversy: If 'The Bachelor' star Matt James chooses Rachael and stands by her, then he truly loves her
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/09/2021
Rachael Kirkconnell's mother Kim Kirkconnell stands by her daughter amid Rachael's racism controversy and has revealed how the scandal might affect Rachael's chances of ending up with The Bachelor star Matt James.
Rachael, a 24-year-old graphic designer from Cumming, GA, received a rose on Monday night's Season 25 episode of The Bachelor and is therefore in Matt's Final 2 with Michelle Young, a 27-year-old teacher from Edina, MN.
"If he chooses Rachael, and stands by her, then you know Matt does truly love her," Kim recently told the U.K.'s The Sun.
"If he chooses Rachael, and then leaves her, then it was not meant to be, and there is someone else out there for her."
Kim suggested she couldn't speak on how Matt is feeling about Rachael's actions that sparked outrage, racism allegations and numerous apologies over the last two months.
"We will never be able to understand how he feels about this situation as a Black man," Kim said.
"We respect his stance on the situation. We have seen the devastation and heartbreak this has caused for Rachael. She wants to be able to prove to him that she has changed and work with him to fight against injustice. This isn't about winning a show. This was about finding love with Matt."
Heavy backlash has been aimed at Rachael since early January whenThe Bachelor premiered.
Kim said the situation got "out of hand" because people have been threatening her family's lives. Kim explained Rachael has been "suffering the consequences" and the social-media scandal "has been demoralizing and depressing."
"No one should have to go through what she has been through," Kim noted, adding that the fallout from the racism controversy has been "devastating and heartbreaking, to put it bluntly."
Kim said Rachael -- who has Latina heritage through her father, Darrell Kirkconnell -- is actually "very passionate" about the Black Lives Matter movement and issues regarding race and the bachelorette "feels like she let everyone down."
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Kim went on to address all of the racism accusations against Rachael.
In January, a girl named Maddy Bierster accused Rachael of bullying her in high school for dating a Black man.
"Rachael did not bully Maddy Bierster in high school. Maddy has committed slander and libel and was served a cease and desist with which she chose not to comply," Kim told The Sun.
"Rachael knew of Maddy Bierster but did not know her on any sort of personal level. Maddy's TikTok implied that she went to Rachael's high school but she didn't."
Kim continued, "Maddy provides no details of where and when this bullying took place even though we have repeatedly asked her to do so and that is because it never happened. I am not saying that Maddy was never bullied in high school, she may have been. However, it wasn't Rachael who did the bullying."
Kim said her family is "considering taking legal action" against Maddy.
Rachael also came under fire for liking offensive photos on Instagram, such as two friends posing in front of a Confederate flag in 2015.
Kim insisted her daughter simply did not "register" the flag hanging in the background of the photo and her family does not support the use or meaning of the Confederate flag.
In regards to photos that resurfaced of Rachael dressing in Native American or Mexican costume with her friends, Kim admitted, "Rachael is ashamed about liking this photo that was posted by a friend."
"In 2015 she was not yet educated about cultural appropriation and the many forms it takes but she grew to fully understand how hurtful it is to wear someone's culture as a costume."
Kim added, "Cultural appropriation was not okay then and it's not okay now, and she is sorry to every person she offended by liking that photo."
Arguably the biggest or most serious offense was Rachael attending a plantation-themed "Old South" fraternity party at Georgia College & State University in 2018.
In a February Extra interview with The Bachelor host Chris Harrison, The Bachelorette's Season 13 star Rachel Lindsay -- who appeared as the franchise's first leading lady of color -- pointed out, "It's not a good look... If I went to that party, what would I represent?"
According to Kim, the event was hosted by the Kappa Alpha Order, a fraternity that honors Confederate commander Robert E. Lee as its spiritual founder.
But Kim told The Sun that Rachael just thought she was attending a "Rose Ball."
"The word 'antebellum' was never used to describe the event. The event made no references to the Civil War... no Confederate flags were present, and no Confederate outfits were worn," Kim explained.
"They did not party on a plantation in the dresses. They took some pictures, changed, and went to the beach."
Kim revealed that Rachael actually "chose to disassociate" herself from Greek life once she discovered "problematic and racist behavior" in the community not long after attending the formal.
"She dropped out of her sorority that same year and was disaffiliated for the rest of her time in school because she did not share their views and beliefs and did not want to be a part of it anymore," Kim shared.
"Rachael now knows the full extent of the history behind Kappa Alpha and their formal and feels horrible that she hurt people by attending."
Kim also apparently finds it ridiculous people have been attacking her family because they've supported the Republican Party and former President Donald Trump.
"I don't understand how your voting registration supports that you are a racist. I am not in support of Donald Trump's rhetoric and was horrified by the riot on the capitol," Kim said.
"Both parties have people of all different races, have members who are not racists and members with racist pasts."
Chris involved himself in Rachael's controversy when he called anger directed at the bachelorette "unbelievably alarming" and ultimately tried to dismiss Rachael's mistakes by saying she was a young girl just trying to have fun and deserved some "grace" and "compassion" from others.
Chris was slammed for interrupting Rachel in the Extra interview and saying of Rachael's "Old South" photos, "Is it a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021? Because there's a difference." Chris also used offensive terms such as "the woke police."
"It was disappointing for many reasons," Kim told The Sun of Chris' response. "But it was particularly frustrating because his stance is the exact opposite of how Rachael feels about the situation."
Emmanuel Acho, a former NFL linebacker and Fox Sports analyst who also hosts the weekly web series Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, will now serve as the host ofThe Bachelor: After the Final Rose when it airs on Monday, March 15 at 10PM ET/PT on ABC.
"Although this has been hard on her, she can take some solace in knowing that Chris' words about her are being used by the franchise to take a step in the right direction, and she stands with and supports the BIPOC within the franchise," Kim said.
Rachael has also apologized for her actions and confessed her "ignorance was racist," and she said she's now trying to use her social-media platform to help educate others about her mistakes.
"Rachael had already been educating herself on how to be actively anti-racist and took a stand against the injustices that took place over the summer," Kim said.
"She donated, signed petitions, made the conscious effort to listen and learn, and encouraged other white allies to do the same on her social media. This activism even ended some of her lifelong friendships, but standing up for what's right was more important to her."
Kim added, "So far there has not been any acknowledgement of her anti-racist efforts. Instead, the focus has been on anything that supports the theory that she is a racist."
Kim concluded that Rachael is "non-judgmental, kind, caring, compassionate, non-confrontational and friendly to everyone she comes across."