The Bachelor’s Matt James has broken his silence amid the ongoing racism-related controversies surrounding contestant Rachael Kirkconnell and host Chris Harrison in recent weeks.
As the first Black male lead in the history of the ABC dating series, Matt had been hoping his season would be making headlines but not for the reasons it has been after Rachael was accused of ‘liking’ social media posts that were deemed racially insensitive, bullying a former school mate for dating a Black man and attending an ‘Antebellum plantation theme’ party at university in 2018.
Rachael apologized for her past actions, while host Chris Harrison was also forced to apologize and step away from his role in the series after he spoke ‘in a manner that perpetuates racism’ when trying to defend the contestant during a chat with Rachel Lindsay – who was the first Black female lead on the show.
Matt shared his thoughts about the issue on Instagram on Monday night as he told his fans: ‘The past few weeks have been some of the most challenging of my life, and while there are several episodes left of the season, it is important that I take the time to address the troubling information that has come to light since we wrapped filming, including the incredibly disappointing photos of Rachael Kirkconnell and the interview between Rachel Lindsay and Chris Harrison.
‘The reality is that I’m learning about these situations in real time, and it has been devastating and heartbreaking to put it bluntly. Chris‘s failure to receive and understand the emotional labor that my friend Rachel Lindsay was taking on by graciously and patiently explaining the racist history of the Antebellum South, a painful history that every American should understand intimately, was troubling and painful to watch.’
The 29-year-old reality star continued: ‘As Black people and allies immediately knew and understood, it was a clear reflection of a much larger issue that The Bachelor franchise has fallen short on addressing adequately for years.
‘This moment has sparked critical conversations and reporting, raised important questions, and resulted in inspiring displays of solidarity from The Bachelor notion.’
Matt continued: ‘It has also pushed me to reevaluate and process what my experience on The Bachelor represents, not just for me, but for all of the contestants of color, especially the Black contestants of this season and seasons post, and for you, the viewers at home.’
He concluded: ‘I will continue to process this experience, and you will hear more from me in the end. My greatest prayer is that this is an inflection point that results in real and institutional change for the better.’
The Bachelor was praised for speaking out about the matter as Rachel Lindsay commented: ‘Yes Matt Yes 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾’
Bachelorette star Andi Dorfman commented: ‘Always have and always will be proud of the kind, strong, compassionate stand up of a man you are ❤️’
Former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe added, ❤️❤️❤️👏👏👏,’ while Love Island winner Justine Ndiba commented: ‘👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾’
Love Island star Cely Vazquez wrote: ‘Sending lots of love and support! ♥️’
Singer Aloe Blacc wrote: ‘We all have to work together!’
The Bachelor airs Mondays on ABC.
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