Matt James is showing his support for Rachel Lindsay following the backlash against Bachelor host Chris Harrison and contestant Rachael Kirkconnell. In a statement on Instagram Story on Friday, James reposted Lindsay’s latest Instagram, adding his own sentiments dedicated to the former Bachelorette.
“I am beyond grateful to have Rachel as a mentor during this season. Your advocacy of BIPOC people in the franchise is invaluable, I stand with you and the rest of the women advocating for change and accountability,” James wrote.
Just after James’ Bachelor premiere last month, a TikTok user accused Kirkconnell — an early front-runner on the show — of bullying her in the past for dating Black men. Last week, another user accused Kirkconnell of liking racist photos. Pics have also surfaced of Kirkconnell at an Old South plantation-themed party while in college.
In a statement on Instagram on Thursday, Kirkconnell apologized, and said she hoped to “earn your forgiveness through my future actions.”
That apology came one day after Harrison issued his own statement, apologizing for “wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism” by defending Kirkconnell’s racist actions and asking people to offer her “grace” when doing an interview with Lindsay.
Many fans have continued to speak out against Harrison, while nearly all the contestants on James’ season — including Kirkconnell — shared a post condemning “any defense of racism.”
A post shared by Abigail Heringer (@abigail_heringer)
The 35-year-old TV host and first Black Bachelorette expressed that she was having a “really hard time” accepting Harrison’s apology, during her podcast, Higher Learning With Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay, Friday.
“He never gave me room to talk and he never gave me room to share my perspective,” she said of her Extra interview with Harrison. “He wasn’t trying to hear it. He was just trying to be heard. And that’s because I felt like he had an agenda that he was really trying to push.”
Lindsay also shared that Harrison reached out to her directly before issuing a public apology. But Lindsay noted that the Bachelor Nation host’s words didn’t ring true to her.
“I’m having a really, really hard time reasoning or really taking in and accepting this apology and I’ll tell you why,” she said. “When I finished that interview with Chris Harrison, he had no problems with it. He was fine. He texted me after. He appreciated the conversation. He was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll probably get a little flack.’ He thought it was great that we could disagree but do it in a civil way.”
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