Apology tour: Bachelor front runner Rachael Kirkconnell, 24, issued an apology on Thursday for ‘offensive and racist’ actions following surfaced racist photos and a mea culpa from show host Chris Harrison
A contestant on The Bachelor who is vying for the heart of the first black bachelor Matt James has apologized for her past ‘offensive and racist’ behavior after photos emerged of her atantebellum plantation-themed frat party.
Rachael Kirkconnell, a 24-year-old graphic artist from Cumming, Georgia, issued the apology on Thursday via Instagram.
In addition to the plantation photos that have emerged in the last month, Kirkconnell has also been hit with allegations that she once ‘ridiculed’ a woman for dating a black man and has shared QAnon conspiracy posts.
‘While there have been rumors circulating, there have also been truths that have come to light that I need to address. I hear you, and I’m here to say I was wrong,’ Kirkconnell said in her long-winded apology.
‘At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them. My age or when it happened does not excuse anything. They are not acceptable or okay in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.’
‘I am sorry to the communities and individuals that my actions harmed and offended. I am ashamed about my lack of education, but it is no one’s responsibility to educate me.
‘I am learning and will continue to learn how to be antiracist, because it’s important to speak up in the moment and not after you’re called out.’
Tone deaf: Photos of her from 2018 at a plantation themed formal surfaced online, with multiple users additionally adding that she had bullied a classmate in high school for dating Black guys
Addressing the rumors: The Georgia native issued a lengthy apology and demanded she be ‘held accountable for her actions’ and asking for ‘forgiveness’
‘If you are a person who doesn’t understand the offense in question, I urge you to learn from my mistakes and encourage you to use them as a teachable moment.
‘As for my family, I love them and how they raised me to be my own individual. They have always encouraged me to have my own views, opinions, and beliefs. As I was thinking about what I wanted to say, I couldn’t help but think about how sick people must be of reading these kinds of statements; how a person didn’t realize the trauma that their actions would inflict on other people.’
‘It must get so exhausting. I want to put my energy towards preventing people from making the same offensive mistakes that I made in the first place, and I hope I can prove this to you moving forward.’
‘Racial progress and unity are impossible without (white) accountability, and I deserve to be held accountable for my actions.
‘I will never grow unless I recognize what I have done is wrong. I don’t think one apology means that I deserve your forgiveness, but rather I hope I can earn your forgiveness through my future actions,’ she concluded.
Front runner: Kirkconnell’s past began to be unearthed following her rise to fame on the current Bachelor season, as she vys for James’ heart who has made history as the first Black bachelor
Deep dive: A TikTok user did a deep dive on Rachael’s history, alleging that she was seen liking racist photos on Instagram and MAGA related content, in addition to being vocal about Blue Lives Matter and posting Q-anon conspiracy theories; pictured January 26
Bachelor nation fans first got wind of her racially-insensitive behavior when a TikTok user named Feministmama did a deep dive on Rachael’s social media activity.
She was accused of liking racist photos on Instagram.
Social media Kirkconnell shared ‘pro-police posts’ on her Instagram account and had also allegedly shared Q-anon related conspiracy theories online.
and MAGA-related content, and additionally it was discovered that her father was a donor of WinRed – a Republican fundraising platform aimed at helping Trump win reelection.
Photos of her surfaced where she was seen attending a plantation themed formal in college, in addition to more photos of her culturally appropriating Native Americans on Halloween.
In addition, another TikTok user claimed Kirkconnell and her friends bullied her in high school for dating Black men.
On February 2, James acknowledged the swirling accusations during an interview with Entertainment Tonight where he said:
‘I would just warn people to be careful about making accusations before someone’s had a chance to speak on it… rumors are dark, and they’re nasty, and they can ruin people’s lives, so… I would give people the benefit of the doubt, and hopefully, she’ll have her time to speak on that.’
Longtime show host Harrison seemed to defend Kirkconnell’s actions in an Extra TV interview on February 9 with first Black Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, before issuing an apology on his social media on following fan outrage.
Bringing up the photos of Kirkconnell at the plantation themed party, Lindsay said: ‘The picture was from 2018 at an Old South antebellum party. That’s not a good look,’ to which Harrison retorted, ‘Well, Rachel is it a good look in 2018? Or, is it not a good look in 2021? Because there’s a big difference.’
In defense: ‘This judge, jury, executioner thing where people are just tearing this girl’s life apart,’ Harrison told Lindsay
Mea culpa: Harrison issued an apology on Wednesday after fans were outraged he seemed to defend Rachael’s actions on an Extra TV interview with Lindsay
He continued to say, ‘This judge, jury, executioner thing where people are just tearing this girl’s life apart… Until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this.’
On Wednesday he issued an apology that read:
‘I will always own a mistake when I make one, so I am here to extend a sincere apology. I have this incredible platform to speak about love, and yesterday I took a stance on topics about which I should have been better informed.’
‘While I do not speak for Rachael Kirkconnell, my intentions were simply to ask for grace in offering her an opportunity to speak on her own behalf. What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am so deeply sorry.’
‘I also apologize to my friend Rachel Lindsay for not listening to her better on a topic she has a first-hand understanding of, and humbly thank the members of Bachelor Nation who have reached out to me to hold me accountable. I promise to do better.’
Women tell all: ‘I am learning and will continue to learn how to be antiracist, because it’s important to speak up in the moment and not after you’re called out,’ she wrote in her apology, with Harrison promising the issue will be addressed on the Women Tell All special