Matt James, the primary Black romantic lead for ABC’s The Bachelor, spoke out in opposition to the controversies surrounding host Chris Harrison and contestant Rachael Kirkconnell. On Monday, James posted a press release on Instagram by which he condemns each Harrison’s and Kirkconnell’s actions.
“The reality is that I’m learning about these situations in real time, and it has been devastating and heartbreaking to put it bluntly,” he wrote. “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.”
‘Bachelor’ Host Chris Harrison Will Step Apart And Not Seem On ‘After The Last Rose’ Recap
James continues: “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.”
Earlier this month Kirkconnell acquired backlash after photographs displaying the 24-year-old attending an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018 not too long ago resurfaced. The contestant apologized for the outdated photographs, noting that she was ignorant and that her “ignorance was racist.”
Kirkconnell’s photographs grew to become the subject of an interview between Harrison and contestant Rachel Lindsay. Within the Further interview, Harrison defended the season’s frontrunner, noting that the photographs have been taking a very long time in the past and urged that Kirkconnell had develop into a goal of cancel tradition. Following the interview and social media backlash, Harrison stepped apart as host and can anot seem on the sequence’ recap episode.
With racism and racial points taking the Bachelor Nation highlight, James mentioned the controversies has pushed him to “reevaluate and process what my experience on The Bachelor represents” for contestants of shade, particularly Black contestants.
“I will continue to process this experience, and you will hear more from me in the end,” he wrote. “My greatest prayer is that this is an inflection point that results in real and institutional change for the better.”
See James’ full assertion beneath.