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 an announcement on Instagram during which he condemns each Harrison’s and Kirkconnell’s actions.
“The truth is that I’m studying about these conditions in actual time, and it has been devastating and heartbreaking to place it bluntly,” he wrote. “Chris’s failure to obtain and perceive the emotional labor that my pal Rachel Lindsay was taking up 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 observe.”
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James continues: “As Black individuals 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.”
Earlier this month Kirkconnell received backlash after pictures resurfaced that present the 24-year-old attending an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018. The contestant apologized for the old photos, noting that she was ignorant and that her “ignorance was racist.”
Kirkconnell’s pictures turned the subject of an interview between Harrison and contestant Lindsay. Within the Additional interview, Harrison defended the season’s front-runner, noting that the pictures had been taken a very long time in the past and suggesting that Kirkconnell had change into a goal of cancel tradition. Following the interview and social media backlash, Harrison stepped aside as host and won’t seem on the sequence’ recap episode.
With racism and racial points taking the Bachelor Nation highlight, James stated the controversies have pushed him to “reevaluate and course of what my expertise on The Bachelor represents” for contestants of coloration, particularly Black contestants.
“I’ll proceed to course of this expertise, and you’ll hear extra from me ultimately,” he wrote. “My biggest prayer is that that is an inflection level that ends in actual and institutional change for the higher.”
See James’ full assertion beneath.