'The Bachelor's Rachael Kirkconnell apologizes for "offensive and racist" behavior -- "My ignorance was racist"
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/12/2021
Rachael Kirkconnell has broken her silence and released a lengthy apology for offensive and racist behavior in her past that has come to light and surfaced online since The Bachelor premiered on ABC in January.
The Bachelor bachelorette took to Instagram on Thursday and finally addressed the "rumors" and "truths" that have been circulating about the bachelorette since The Bachelor's 25th season starring Matt James debuted in early January.
"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," Rachael wrote in a lengthy post.
"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."
Rachael added, "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."
A TikTok user named Maddy Bierster accused Rachael of bullying her in high school for dating Black men, and Rachael was additionally accused by other The Bachelor fans of cultural appropriation and liking photos with offensive and racist content on Instagram, such as a friend standing in front of a house displaying the Confederate flag.
And earlier this month, photos also emerged of Rachael with her sorority sisters attending an antebellum plantation-themed "Old South" fraternity formal at Georgia College & State University in 2018, which was only three years ago.
Reality Steve spoiler blogger Steve Carbone reposted two photos from the party February 5 on Twitter and tweeted how this was "unacceptable" and "wildly ignorant" of Rachael to do.
Rachael continued in her apology, "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."
"As for my family, I love them and how they raised me to be my own individual," Rachael wrote.
"They have always encouraged me to have my own views, opinions, and beliefs. As I was thinking about what I wanted to say, I couldn't help but think about how sick people must be of reading these kinds of statements; how a person didn't realize the trauma that their actions would inflict on other people. It must get so exhausting."
FOLLOW REALITY TV WORLD ON THE ALL-NEW GOOGLE NEWS!
Reality TV World is now available on the all-new Google News app and website. Click here to visit our Google News page, and then click FOLLOW to add us as a news source!
Rachael therefore said she wants to put her "energy towards preventing people from making the same offensive mistakes that I made in the first place, and I hope I can prove this to you moving forward."
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."
Harrison took to Instagram on Wednesday and wrote, "To my Bachelor Nation family -- I will always own a mistake when I make one, so I am here to extend a sincere apology. I have this incredible platform to speak about love, and yesterday I took a stance on topics about which I should have been better informed."
"While I do not speak for Rachael Kirkconnell, my intentions were simply to ask for grace in offering her an opportunity to speak on her own behalf. What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am so deeply sorry."
Harrison also apologized to his "friend" Lindsay "for not listening to her better on a topic she has a first-hand understanding of."
He proceeded to "humbly thank the members of Bachelor Nation who have reached out to me to hold me accountable" and promised "to do better."
Harrison's Extra interview struck a chord with many viewers because he used terms such as "the woke police" and how backlash directed at Rachael has been "unbelievably alarming to watch."
In regards to the Old South party Rachael apparently attended, Harrison said, "I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago and that's it. Like, boom."
"'Okay, this girl is in this book now and she's now in this group.' And I'm like, 'Really?'"
In response to Harrison, Lindsay countered, "The picture was from 2018 at an Old South antebellum party. That's not a good look. It's not a good look."
"Well, Rachel, is it a good look in 2018 or, is it not a good look in 2021?" Harrison argued. "Because there's a big difference."
"It's not a good look EVER," Lindsay insisted. "She is celebrating the Old South. If I went to that party, what would I represent at that party?"
Harrison also said Rachael was not dealing with "reasonable people" on social media and probably waited so long to issue a statement because she "can't please everybody" and probably isn't equipped to speak on the matter eloquently.
A fan later tweeted about the interview and wrote, "@TheRachLindsay is so generous and giving to this franchise. We do not deserve her."
The former attorney and Season 13 The Bachelorette star replied, "My days are numbered."
The current The Bachelor star added, "Rumors are dark and they're nasty and they can ruin people's lives. So I would give people the benefit of the doubt, and hopefully she will have her time to speak on that."
The Bachelor franchise has been under scrutiny for its lack of diversity for years, with Lindsay often speaking out publicly about the issue and holding the show and its production accountable.
Matt was named the first Black The Bachelor star in 25 seasons of the series in June 2020 after Lindsay publicly expressed her dissatisfaction about The Bachelor franchise's lack of diversity and her status as its only Black lead in 18 years of broadcast in a blog post earlier that month.
However, ABC subsequently insisted the network already picked Matt as The Bachelor's Season 25 star before Lindsay expressed outrage over the franchise's lack of diversity.
"It wasn't a response to that," ABC reality chief Robert Mills said. "We could have made this announcement earlier or later."