Controversy sparks over racism scandal with Bachelor contestant


Photo used with permission from Google Commons

Bachelor Matt James gives a rose to contestant Rachael Kirkconnell at the rose ceremony.

“I’m falling in love with you too,” Matt James, ABC’s current bachelor confessed to contestant Racheal Kirkconnell. This is the first time the L-word has been dropped on this season, convincing fans that Kirkconnell is the frontrunner for this season. However, fans have recently uncovered Kirkconnell’s racist actions on social media, leaving viewers wondering if she is really who they thought she was.

This season, the Bachelor franchise has produced its first Black Bachelor, an important step forward in equality. However, after Kirkconnell’s one-on-one date aired, numerous disrespectful and insensitive actions were uncovered by fans, leaving supporters shocked and appalled.

Kirkconnell has liked and posted photos that were appropriating cultures and displaying the Confederate flag. In one photo, Kirkconnell can be seen disrespecting indigneous people by wearing an offensive Native American costume and headress at a party. In addition, Kirkconnell has reposted QAnon conspiracy theories from PragerU on her Instagram story, a site known for their misinformation and unreliability. Finally, photos have emerged of Kirkconnell at an antebellum plantation-themed formal in 2018, an event that is racially insensitive.

Bachelor fans are disgusted with the lack of accountability that the show has taken. Kirkconnell has recently made a public apology on Instagram, but only after weeks of ridicule from the internet. “I think the producers should start doing a better job with their background checks, because this information was out in the open and easy for anyone to discover. Although you can grow and learn from your mistakes, this should have been addressed before Rachael was on the show,” junior Sage Gardiner said.

In an interview with Us Weekly, James was asked about the recent scandal involving Kirkconnell. “I have not spoken to anybody since the show ended, but I would say that you have to be really careful about what you are doing on social media. Rumors are dark and nasty and can ruin people’s lives, so I would give people the benefit of the doubt, and hopefully she will have her time to speak on that,” James said.

James’ vague and nonchalant response led fans to wonder if he had in fact picked Kirkconnell to be his wife. “I think it was weird how Matt seemed to be defending Rachael in his interview. I was rooting for her because she has a great relationship with Matt, but now I think they would get a lot of backlash if they ended up together. Rachael is definitely a direct result of ‘cancel culture’,” sophomore Vivian Pisani said.

Bachelor host Chris Harrison also attempted to defend Kirkconnell in an interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, but ended up making ignorant and racist comments, angering fans and forcing him to temporarily step down from his position for the rest of the season. Like Kirkconnell, Harrison apologized over Instagram. “My words were hurtful. I am listening, and I truly apologize for my ignorance and any pain it caused you,” Harrison said.