'Bachelor' contestant Rachael Kirkconnell apologizes for past racist actions

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“Bachelor” contestant Rachael Kirkconnell has apologized for past actions which she called “racist and offensive.”

The 24-year-old, who is a Season 25 frontrunner and dating the franchise’s first Black bachelor Matt James, issued the lengthy mea culpa on social media Thursday.

Kirkconnell condemned her past actions which included attending an “Old South”-themed party in 2018 at a plantation and dressing up in a Native American costume. 

“I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist,” she wrote. “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.”

She pledged to “continue to learn how to be antiracist” and that “it’s important to speak up in the moment and not after you’re called out.”

The graphic designer said she hopes her followers “learn from my mistakes” and to “use them as a teachable moment.” 

Rachael Kirkconnell and Matt James on their one-on-one date. 
(ABC/Craig Sjodin)

“I deserve to be held accountable for my actions,” she concluded. “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.”

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Longtime “Bachelor” host Chris Harrison came under fire earlier this week for attempting to defend Kirkconnell in an interview with former “Bachelorette” lead Rachel Lindsay on Extra.

“This is, again, where we all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion,” Harrison said at the time. “I haven’t heard Rachael speak on this yet. And until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this?”

Rachael Kirkconnell is a 24-year-old graphic designer from Alabama. 
(ABC/Craig Sjodin)

Lindsay pointed out the photo “was from 2018 at an Old South antebellum part … that’s not a good look.”

Harrison debated, “Well, Rachel is it a good look in 2018? Or, is it not a good look in 2021? Because there’s a big difference.”

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“It’s not a good look ever,” Lindsay stated. “Because she’s celebrating the Old South. If I went to that party, what would I represent at that party?”

Harrison, who received backlash for his words, made a statement apologizing as well.

Chris Harrison apologized for ‘speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism.’
(ABC/Craig Sjodin)

“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 for wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am so deeply sorry,” he wrote. 

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James also addressed the photo controversy in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.

He said in early February: “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.”

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