Bachelor Matt James has broken his silence on the controversy surrounding Rachael Kirkconnell and Chris Harrison.
James took to Instagram, writing:
"The past few weeks have been some of the most challenging of my life, and while there are several episodes left of the season, it is important that I take the time to address the troubling information that has come to light since we wrapped filming, including the incredibly disappointing photos of Rachael Kirkconnell and the interview between Rachel Lindsay and Chris Harrison."
The bachelor went on to say that the news was "devastating and heartbreaking."
"It was a clear reflection of a much larger issue that The Bachelor franchise has fallen short on addressing adequately for years. This moment has sparked critical conversations and reporting, raised important questions, and resulted in inspiring displays of solidarity from The Bachelor nation."
James also revealed that with time, after "processing" the information, he will share more on the matter.
He concluded his post with:
"My greatest prayer is that this is an inflection point that results in real and institutional change for the better."
Harrison and Kirkconnell have also spoken out on the controversy. Kirkconnell took to Instagram to issue an 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."
Harrison released a statement after receiving backlash for his statements in an interview on Extra. In the interview, the Bachelor host defended Kirkconnell's questionable photos, saying:
"Is it a good look in 2018? Or is it not a good look in 2021? Because there's a big difference."
Extra Host and former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay set the record straight and replied:
"It's not a good look ever."
Harrison will be taking some "time away" from the ABC franchise, but in the meantime, he wrote on Instagram:
"...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."
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