After Being Called Out By Bachelor Nation, Rachael Kirkconnell Finally Responded To Her Past Racist Behavior

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
Bachelor Nation has been in a state of chaos for the past few weeks, and current lead Matt James isn’t even at the center of it. Rachael Kirkconnell, a contestant (and frontrunner) from his season, is in the middle of all the drama because of allegations and evidence of disturbing racist behavior. Now, after weeks of silence, she finally has something to say.
As is common for every season of The Bachelor, fans of the show made sure to do their due diligence, doing deep dives into the backgrounds of the contestants just to see what comes up. Amateur investigation into Kirkconnell’s background unearthed some very interesting, very disturbing details. Fans found out that the contestant had a recent history of engaging in some pretty problematic behavior, including attending an "Old South" (read: antebellum era) themed party, dressing in culturally appropriative costumes, and liking Confederate flag-related TikToks.
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Fans began discussing their findings about Kirkconnell online, and it didn't take long before the conversation eventually spread to current and former Bachelor contestants. Franchise head honcho Chris Harrison attempted to quell the discourse about Kirkconnell's past in a particularly unfortunate interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, even trying to shift blame on the people who were upset about the documented racist behavior. He asked the world to show Kirkconnell grace — something that the woman he was speaking over rarely ever received throughout her time on the show and in the years that followed.
Of course, this didn't go over well at all, even after he issued an apology. In the days that followed Harrison's nonsense mansplaining of racism to an actual Black woman who had lived it (on his watch!), Bachelor Nation was quick to point out the double standards of the franchise.
On Thursday night, Kirkconnell decided to log into her social media and share a statement addressing the drama of her past. In the statement, shared on her Instagram page, the 24-year-old wrote that the discussion had included "rumors" and "truths," but at the end of the day, she knew she was dead wrong.
"I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist," Kirkconnell said in the statement. "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."
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She also rightly acknowledged the stress and trauma that people of color experience that comes from having to hear apologies for racism over and over again. Rather than expecting impacted communities to forgive and educate her, however, Kirkconnell wrote that she would channel her energy into making sure that other people would not travel down that same path.
"Racial progress and unity are impossible without (white) accountability," Kirkconnell concluded. "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."
Kirkconnell's fellow contestants shared a union-esque statement on the matter, writing that they are "deeply disappointed" and "denounce any defense of racism." She then shared the statement on her Instagram stories as well, which is...something. (The call is coming from inside of the house!)
Because this controversy played out after production on James' season had wrapped, no one knows exactly how Kirkconnell's past played into the Bachelor's final rose or if it even came up at all. But I will say this for certain: an invitation to Paradise is looking pretty unlikely.

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