'The Bachelorette' star Katie Thurston apologizes for offensive LGBTQ kissing photo on Instagram
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/13/2021
The Bachelorette's new star Katie Thurston is expressing regret over the kissing photo she had posted on Instagram that apparently offended many members of the LGBTQ community.
Katie, who will star on The Bachelorette's upcoming seventeenth season, posted a controversial photo on Tuesday of herself kissing fellow Season 25 The Bachelor alum Casandra Suarez on the neck that also featured a neon sign reading, "GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS."
After Katie received backlash and criticism, she deleted the post and issued an apology on her Instagram Stories hours later.
"To my followers: I've removed my most recent post after realizing how many people from the LGBTQ+ [community] I hurt," Katie, 30, wrote in a rainbow-colored image on Tuesday.
"I am so sorry. I've read the comments and better understand why my post was offensive. I will continue to learn from my mistakes. I want to always be an ally and today I'm sorry I let you down."
Among the comments Katie received were accusations of "queer baiting" and being disrespectful, according toUs Weekly.
Katie initially wrote back to her followers that the photo was simply a "friendship post" and not intended to be a "statement" about her sexuality, the magazine reported, but then she changed her tune and got rid of the post entirely.
Casandra also competed on Matt James' The Bachelor season, which filmed in late 2020 and aired earlier this year on ABC, but was eliminated in Week 1 of the process.
As for Katie, the bank marketing manager from Lynnwood, WA, was eliminated from The Bachelor's 25th season before hometown dates but made a lasting impression on Matt and home viewers with her raunchy humor and bold personality.
Katie, for example, showed up on Night 1 of the competition with her sex toy, which she joked had become her best friend while quarantining amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Katie also put an end to bullying in the house and took pride in being unapologetically herself, and Matt recently told E! News he thinks Katie is "incredible" and may be "one of the best [Bachelorettes] to ever do" the show.
Katie's entire season taped at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, where cast and crew were required to quarantine and follow COVID-19 safety measures, according to Reality Steve spoiler blogger Steve Carbone.
Chris came under fire during Matt's The Bachelor season after he defended Season 25 contestant Rachael Kirkconnell's racially-ignorant and racially-insensitive actions in the last several years during a controversial interview he had with Extra's Rachel Lindsay, who starred as the first Black Bachelorette.