A “Bachelorette” winner has been hit by a controversial scandal after an old picture of him surfaced online.
Warning: Major “Bachelorette” spoilers ahead.
On September 8, 2022, someone uploaded a picture of Erich Schwer in his high school yearbook. What could have been a silly look back at a goofy teenager ended up being something that many didn’t expect. Schwer was featured in a photo, dressed up like Jimi Hendrix, wearing blackface.
The photo was shared on Reddit and on the “bachelorrabbithole” Instagram page. The picture, which was featured in the school’s 2011 yearbook, featured Schwer wearing an afro wig with a headband. “It was swell,” read the quote that appeared next to the photo.
Schwer’s offensive picture quickly went viral — and he has since released an apology.
Here’s what you need to know:
Schwer Posted an Apology on Instagram
Schwer is the person who ends up with Gabby Windey on the first ever joint season of “The Bachelorette.” Although the show’s finale has yet to air, Windey quickly narrowed down her final group of guys, eliminating Jason Alabaster before the final rose ceremony, leaving her only with Schwer, which fans saw on the September 5, 2022, episode.
Just days later, however, the photo of Schwer was shared online. Not long after the yearbook photo started circulating, Schwer took to social media to release an apology.
“I wholeheartedly apologize for the insensitive photo of me in Blackface from my high school yearbook that has been circulating. What I thought at the time was a representation of my love for Jimi Hendrix, was nothing but ignorance. I was naïve to the hurtful implications of my actions to the Black community and those closest to me, and will forever regret my offensive and damaging behavior. I am deeply ashamed by my actions and understand that my apology is only the first step in taking accountability,” he wrote.
This is not the first time that a “Bachelor/ette” winner issued an apology for past racist actions. During Matt James’ season of “The Bachelor,” photos of Rachael Kirkconnell at an “Old South” formal in 2018 surfaced online. Kirkconnell issued an apology and opened up about the photo on the “After the Final Rose” special.
Kirkconnell and James are still together.
Schwer Received a Response From Another ‘Bachelorette’ Suitor
Nate Mitchell, who also dated Windey on the current season of “The Bachelorette,” responded to Schwer in the comments section.
“Appreciate you taking ownership bro, I can’t absolve you of this but I can attest to the man I’ve met and you have been nothing less than someone who I’d consider a friend. You aren’t the first person I’ve befriended with a similar past and the difference is not having an attitude of willful ignorance,” Mitchell commented.
“Your school accepting this behavior and posting this to a year book tells me that no peers or faculty around you spoke out to guide you away from this issue. Kids do fall victim to their environments time and time again. Continue to grow and learn from your past and I’ll continue to support you and provide advice should you need/ask for it,” he added.
Several people thanked Schwer for issuing his apology.