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 during which he condemns each Harrison’s and Kirkconnell’s actions.
“The actuality 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 buddy 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.”

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James continues: “As Black folks and allies instantly knew and understood, it was a transparent reflection of a a lot bigger subject that The Bachelor franchise has fallen quick on addressing adequately for years.”
Earlier this month Kirkconnell acquired backlash after photographs resurfaced that present the 24-year-old attending an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018. The contestant apologized for the previous photographs, noting that she was ignorant and that her “ignorance was racist.”
Kirkconnell’s photographs turned the subject of an interview between Harrison and contestant Lindsay. In the Extra interview, Harrison defended the season’s front-runner, noting that the photographs had been taken a very long time in the past and suggesting that Kirkconnell had grow to be a goal of cancel tradition. Following the interview and social media backlash, Harrison stepped apart as host and won’t seem on the collection’ 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 colour, particularly Black contestants.
“I’ll proceed to course of this expertise, and you’ll hear extra from me in the long run,” he wrote. “My best prayer is that that is an inflection level that leads to actual and institutional change for the higher.”
See James’ full assertion beneath.