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‘The Bachelor’ Matt James Breaks Silence on Chris Harrison Controversy: ‘Troubling and Painful’

The Bachelor” lead Matt James has damaged his silence on the escalating controversy surrounding the show, as longtime host Chris Harrison stays below hearth for perpetuating racism throughout a latest interview.

James, the primary Black star of “The Bachelor,” is not only calling out Harrison for his “troubling and painful” phrases, however can be holding the general franchise accountable for its dealing with of range and race over the twenty years it has been on-air.

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“The previous few weeks have been among the most difficult of my life, and whereas there are a number of episodes left of the season, it’s important that I take the time to handle the troubling info that has come to mild since we wrapped filming,” James wrote on his Instagram on Monday, hours earlier than a brand new episode of “The Bachelor” is about to air on ABC.

The controversy first erupted earlier this yr, when former photos of contestant Rachael Kirkconnell — a present frontrunner, who remains to be within the working on James’ season — emerged on social media, exhibiting her in attendance at an antebellum-themed fraternity formal in 2018. Kirkconnell was additionally accused on TikTok of racially-insensitive conduct, together with liking photographs containing the Accomplice flag.

Harrison then went on the leisure information present, “Additional,” to sit down down with former “Bachelorette” and correspondent, Rachel Lindsay, who requested Harrison concerning the controversy surrounding Kirkconnell. Throughout the lengthy discussion with Lindsay, Harrison went to nice lengths to seemingly defend Kirkconnell, which resulted in widespread criticism and led to Harrison issuing an apology for “talking in a fashion that perpetuates racism.”

Quickly after, Harrison introduced he would be stepping aside from the franchise for an undisclosed time period, together with not showing on “After the Closing Rose,” which is able to function the ultimate episode of James’ season.

In his assertion on Monday, James took challenge with each Harrison and the “extremely disappointing” photographs of Kirkconnell, along with the franchise as a complete, which he says has “fallen quick” relating to coping with range and race.

“The truth is that I’m studying about these conditions in actual time, and it has been devastating and heartbreaking to place it bluntly,” James wrote.

“Chris’s failure to obtain and perceive the emotional labor that my pal Rachel Lindsay was taking over by graciously and patiently explaining the racist historical past of the Antebellum South, a painful historical past that each American ought to perceive intimately, was troubling and painful to look at,” James continued. “As Black folks and allies instantly knew and understood, it was a transparent reflection of a a lot bigger challenge that ‘The Bachelor’ franchise has fallen quick on addressing adequately for years.”

“This second has sparked essential conversations and reporting, raised vital questions and resulted in inspiring shows of solidarity from The Bachelor nation,” James continued.” “It has additionally pushed me to reevaluate and course of what my expertise on ‘The Bachelor’ represents, not only for me, however for the entire contestants of colour, particularly the Black contestants of this season and seasons previous, and for you, the viewers at residence.”

James concluded his heartfelt assertion by writing, “I’ll proceed to course of this expertise, and you’ll hear extra from me in the long run. My biggest prayer is that that is an inflection level that leads to actual and institutional change for the higher.”

Beforehand, James had spoken about Kirkconnell’s social media photographs, however his preliminary feedback had been made earlier than Harrison’s controversial interview and earlier than extra info surrounding Kirkconnell got here to mild — on the time, the contestant had not spoken concerning the authenticity of the photographs.

“I’ve not spoken to anyone because the present ended, however I might say that it’s important to be actually cautious about what you might be doing on social media,” James mentioned in early Feb., throughout in interview with Entertainment Tonight, when requested concerning the allegations. “Rumors are darkish and nasty and may spoil folks’s lives. So I might give folks the good thing about the doubt, and hopefully she could have her time to talk on that.”

As James wrote on his social media on Monday, he has been discovering new info, together with the viewers at residence, within the time since filming on his season wrapped.

Shortly following Harrison’s “Additional” interview with Lindsay, Kirkconnell got here ahead with her own apology statement. “Whereas there have been rumors circulating, there have additionally been truths which have come to mild that I would like to handle. I hear you, and I’m right here to say I used to be flawed,” Kirkconnell wrote, partially. “At one level, I didn’t acknowledge how offensive and racist my actions had been, however that doesn’t excuse them…I used to be ignorant, however my ignorance was racist.”

Because the controversy has continued to escalate, many contestants from “The Bachelor” have banded collectively to talk out in opposition to the franchise’s race points, together with 25 girls from James’ season, which had essentially the most various forged, up to now.

“We’re the ladies of ‘Bachelor’ Season 25,” the women posted, earlier this month. “Twenty-five girls who determine as BIPOC had been forged on this historic season that was meant to signify change. We’re deeply disillusioned and need to make it clear that we denounce any protection of racism. Any protection of racist conduct denies the lived and continued experiences of BIPOC people. These experiences are to not be exploited or tokenized.”

ABC has not launched any assertion relating to the controversy, at this level. Selection has reached out to the community for remark with reference to James’ put up.

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