Fans Support ‘Bachelor’ Frontrunner Despite Racism Controversy, Past Actions

Rachael Kirkconnell

ABC/Craig Sjodin Rachael Kirkconnell on season 25 of 'The Bachelor.'

Bachelor frontrunner Rachael Kirkconnell is continuing to gain a following after a rough couple of weeks.

Kirkconnell recently issued a public apology after photos of her at an “Old South” formal from 2018 surfaced online. As many continued to criticize her, others offered their support, many praising her for being open and honest about her self-described “racist … actions.” Kirkconnell received significant positive feedback on the post, which received more than 143,000 likes and more than 14,000 comments.

About two weeks later, Kirkconnell released a lengthy video on February 25 in which she candidly offered her thoughts about her past and explained her decision to share some details about the messages she’d been receiving from people who claimed they didn’t understand why people were being so hard on her. The video was viewed more than 1.4 million times and received more than 6,900 comments. She has also posted resources for people who are interested in learning more about antiracism, and fans praised her for doing so.

As previously reported by Heavy, Kirkconnell took to Instagram over the weekend to show her support for former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, who received “hateful” messages on social media following a controversial interview with Bachelor host Chris Harrison. Her post received more than 47,000 likes and about 1,900 comments.

Through all of this, Kirkconnell’s Instagram following has soared to nearly half a million. According to the Bachelor Data account, Kirkconnell’s social media following has grown at a rapid clip amid the controversy surrounding her.

Here’s what you need to know:

Rachael Kirkconnell’s Instagram Following Has Increased Week Over Week

Since Matt James‘ season of The Bachelor began airing in January, Kirkconnell’s Instagram following has grown. Before the season started, she was listed as 10th on a chart from Bachelor Data. However, since she stepped out of the limo on night one, Kirkconnell’s following has only gone up.

Kirkconnell has always been in the top five for Instagram growth. Early on, the Bachelor himself led the pack with followers, with Abigail Heringer next in line. Kirkconnell was third, Bachelor Data showed.

Kirkconnell’s popularity dropped a bit in week two, as she was the fourth highest on Bachelor Data’s Instagram growth chart, gaining about 17,000 followers in a 24-hour period. Over the next couple of weeks, Kirkconnell gained between 40,000 and 50,000 followers. It wasn’t until week five that she really stood out, gaining more than 100,000 followers. This was the episode in which James took Kirkconnell on a shopping spree for their very first one-on-one date.

In the week following the “Old South” controversy, Kirkconnell gained a steady following, adding about 75,000 followers to her account. Over the past three weeks, Kirkconnell has been in the top three when it comes to Instagram growth.

After Hometown Dates, Kirkconnell had more than double the Instagram following of any of the four women left on the show. She currently has 463,000 followers, while Bri Springs has 175,000. Michelle Young, the only other woman still trying to win James’ heart, has 165,000 as of this writing.

The Instagram Followings for James’ Season Are Way Down Compared to the Last 2 Seasons of ‘The Bachelor’

While several of James’ women have gained steady followings throughout the season, they don’t compare well to seasons past. The Bachelor Data compared the Instagram followers for each of the top four women on the past two seasons of The Bachelor with those of the current season.

Kirkconnell’s following of 453,000 is less than half of what Madison (Madi) Prewett’s 981,000 at the same time during her season. These days, Prewett has a huge Instagram following of 1.7 million. Kirkconnell’s following is also smaller than that of Hannah Ann Sluss, who had the second-highest number of Instagram followers at the same time last season with 626,000.

Back on Colton Underwood‘s season, Cassie Randolph was nearly tied with Hannah Godwin, both sitting just north of 700,000 before the Fantasy Suite dates.

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