If you’ve been keeping up with The Bachelor Rachael Kirkconnell racism saga, you probably know that the latest racist photos discovered were of Rachael at an ‘Old South’ sorority formal.
If you’re confused as to why this is An Incredibly Big Deal, I highly recommend you watch RealitySteve and Ashley Spivey’s recent IG Live, where they break down how the Southern Belle aesthetic is deeply entrenched in slavery and racism. (Here’s a great introductory article to get you started on the topic as well.)
— Rosé (@TeaAndRoses21) February 4, 2021
Prior to the release of these photos, there had already been numerous other photos and screenshots released that showed Rachael liking IG photos of her friends wearing MAGA hats and standing in front of confederate flags. This is in addition to the racist bullying accusations Rachael faces from a former high school classmate.
Rachael’s Been Silenced By ABC
Many fans are upset that Rachael has not released a statement but according to RealitySteve aka Steve Carbone, they have forbidden her from commenting on the situation — until now.
Since the sorority photos dropped, ABC has decided to allow Rachael to release a 100-word statement on the topic. However, it should be noted that ABC is expected to have full editorial control and approval.
— Julia Milone (@jujujajajaja) February 7, 2021
Rachael’s Family is ‘Mortified’ By What’s Surfaced Online
Since Rachael was being silenced by The Bachelor producers (despite apparently wanting to address the controversy), Steve had been talking to Rachael’s family in the hopes that someone could come on his podcast as her proxy.
According to Steve, the family had absolutely no intention of defending or explaining away Rachael’s actions. He wrote in a recent blog post,
“At no point… was that family member going to come on and give ANY excuses for the stuff that’s come about online regarding Rachael. ‘Indefensible’ was a word they used a lot. ‘Mortified’ was another. I’ve been in touch with the family members all weekend. Literally all day every day.”
Matt James Comments on the Situation
Matt James previously responded to the racist photos and urged fans to allow Rachael to speak out before making a final judgment. He told ET,
“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.”
You can read his full comments on the issue here.
Rachael Finally Releases Her Statement
After a lot of anticipation, Rachael finally released her statement on Instagram (see below).
According to Steve, Rachael’s statement would have come earlier but was originally rejected by ABC execs.
As far as statements go, it’s actually better than I personally anticipated. I do appreciate that she actually used the word “racist,” especially when so many white people are afraid to even say it.
That said, a statement is meaningless without actions. We’ve all seen white celebs asserting that they “promise to do better” without ever following through.
Rachael most likely won’t be able to post again until the season finale airs, but, once that happens, we’ll expect Rachael to start rectifying her racist ways immediately.
It will take quite a while before she “earns our forgiveness,” as she says, but actions speak louder than words. Only time will tell.
The Women of Season 25 Speak Out
On Thursday, a number of contestants from matt’s season of The Bachelor posted the following statement on their Instagram accounts:
Those who posted the statement include Chelsea Vaughn, Magi Tareke, Pieper James, Abigail Heringer, Jessenia Cruz, Serena Pitt, and future Bachelorette Katie Thurston.
The statement is clearly taking aim at Chris Harrison and his interview with Rachel Lindsay where he defended and apologized for Rachael Kirkconnell’s racist past and attempted to gaslight Rachel Lindsay.
Since then, Chris has released two apologetic statements, the second of which announced he would be temporarily stepping down and would not host the finale, aka the After the Final Rose.
The Bachelor airs on Mondays on ABC.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel and when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her obsessing over her tuxedo cat Tom or hoarding drugstore lipsticks.