Emmanuel Acho had more uncomfortable conversations on The Bachelor: After the Final Rose that viewers didn’t get to see. The former NFL player and bestselling author, who hosted Matt James’ finale special in lieu of Chris Harrison, took to Instagram on Tuesday to reveal one such moment.
The conversation in question was between the final two women, Rachael Kirkconnell and Michelle Young, the former of whom was James’ final pick, though the pair has since broken up due to her ongoing racism controversy.
“I was talking to Michelle early on and I could sense the heartbreak over her loss of a former lover in Matt, but I could also sense the despair over her loss of a former friend in Rachael based upon those photos that have surfaced about Rachael,” Acho said of the runner up, who has since been announced as an upcoming Bachelorette.
Kirkconnell’s past actions came to light in January. First, a TikTok user accused the graphic designer of previously bullying her for dating Black men. Then, another user accused Rachael of liking racist photos. Pics have also surfaced of her at an Old South plantation-themed party while in college. Rachael has since apologized for her past actions and asked people to stop defending them.
“Michelle had reached out to Rachael, but had never heard back, and so Michelle was broken over that. I sensed that over the course of our conversation,” Acho explained. “So during that next commercial break… I reached out to the producers via my microphone and I said, ‘Hey, we have to get Michelle and Rachael to somehow reconcile.'”
While Acho recognized that a romantic reconciliation between James and Kirkconnell likely wasn’t in the cards, the host asked himself, “What kind of reconciliation can we see?”
“I said, ‘Well, look, Rachael, you put out a public apology for the world, but there were women that you were friends with that haven’t heard from you and still feel broken because of that. So if you’re willing, Michelle would love to talk to you,'” Acho recalled. “Rachael smiled. And of course she obliged.”
The conversation, Acho said, featured both women emotionally opening up.
“Michelle walks out, they sit down on the couch together and after Michelle pours her heart out, and Rachael pours her heart out, the two shared an embrace,” he said. “I simply sat there and witnessed it and thought, ‘If we could see this collectively as a society, we could all grow.'”
“It was a beautiful depiction that I got to witness — and for the sake of time, you all did not get to witness,” Acho added. “That was my favorite moment that y’all didn’t see.”
A post shared by Emmanuel Acho (@emmanuelacho)
While fans didn’t get to see that particular moment, there was plenty to witness during the After the Final Rose special, including James’ explanation for why a relationship between he and Kirkconnell can’t work.
“When I questioned our relationship, it was in the context of you not fully understanding my Blackness, and what it means to be a Black man in America, and what it would mean for our kids when I saw those things that were floating around the internet,” he said. “…I knew that I had to take a step back for you to put in that work that you outlined that you needed to do. That’s something that you gotta do on your own, and that’s why we can’t be in a relationship.”
Watch the video below for more on the dramatic finale.
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