Rachael Kirkconnell Speaks Out Amid Accusations of Racism

Rachael Kirkconnell

ABC/Craig Sjodin Rachael Kirkconnell on 'The Bachelor.'

Rachael Kirkconnell, a contestant vying for Matt James’ heart on The Bachelor, has faced repeated accusations of racism, cultural appropriation and bullying. Now more than a month since the first allegation was posted on TikTok, she is addressing the claims on Instagram.

“While there have been rumors circulating, there have also been truths that have come to light that I need to address. I hear you, and I’m here to say I was wrong,” she wrote, mere hours after Reality Steve tweeted that ABC had rejected her previous statement.

She continued, “At one point, I didn’t recognize how racist and offensive 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.”

Kirkconnell was called out on TikTok the night of the premiere over accusations she bullied a woman in high school for dating Black men. Since then, Reddit has posted photos of Kirkconnell wearing a Native American costume and attending an “Old South” fraternity party. The graphic designer is also accused of liking a photo of women posing in front of the Confederate flag and a photo of women wearing ponchos and sombreros.

“I am sorry to the communities and individuals that my actions harmed or offended,” she apologized. “I am ashamed about my lack of education, but it is no one’s responsibility to educate me. I am learning and will continue to learn how to be antiracist, because it’s important to speak up in the moment and not after you’re called out. If you are a person who doesn’t understand the offense in question, I urge you to learn from my mistakes and encourage you to use them as a teachable moment.”

She then mentioned her family, who “raised me to be my own individual” with her “own views, opinions, and beliefs.” Her mother and sister in particular were quick to defend her in the comments section of Instagram and TikTok, claiming she was not allowed to speak publicly.

“As I was thinking about what I wanted to say, I couldn’t help but think about how sick people must be of reading these kinds of statements; how a person didn’t realize the trauma that their actions would inflict on other people,” she wrote. “It must get so exhausting. I want to put my energy towards preventing people from making the same offensive mistakes that I made in the first place, and I hope I prove this to you moving forward.”

She finished the post, writing, “Racial progress and unity are impossible without (white) accountability, and I deserve to be held accountable for my actions. I will never grow unless I recognize what I have done is wrong. I don’t think one apology means I deserve your forgiveness, but rather I hope I can earn your forgiveness through my future actions.”

Reality Steve Reported ABC Was Preventing Kirkconnell From Speaking out

Hours before Kirkconnell spoke out, Reality Steve reported on Twitter that ABC was proving to be a roadblock.

“Here’s the latest: I’ve been told that Rachael’s statement has been rejected by ABC. This has been going on too long for her not to say anything. It’s only gotten worse. Chris said something in 24 hrs. She’s listening to people she shouldn’t be,” the man behind most of Bachelor Nation’s spoilers wrote, referencing the quick statement released by the franchise’s host after he faced backlash for calling on fans to provide Kirkconnell with “grace.”

Reality Steve continued, “My opinion is screw them, post the statement, & let them dare say she violated some contract, which she wouldn’t be doing. You can speak for yourself on your own social media accounts. But for whatever reason, they won’t let her and she’s obliging.”

Fans Have Called for Harrison’s Removal After He Said Kirkconnell Deserves ‘Grace’

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Chris Harrison spoke with Rachel Lindsay on Extra about the allegations facing Kirkconnell. During the conversation, he told the former Bachelorette “I haven’t talked to Rachael about it. And this is, again, where we all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion.”

Those remarks sparked near-instant backlash and a Change.org petition has nearly 28,000 of 35,000 requested signatures requesting his removal from the dating franchise.

He has since issued an apology on Instagram. “To my Bachelor Nation family — I will always own a mistake when I make one, so I am here to extend a sincere apology,” he wrote. “I have this incredible platform to speak about love, and yesterday I took a stance on topics which I should have been better informed. 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.”

He continued, “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. I also apologize to my friend Rachel Lindsay for not listening to her better on a topic she has a first-hand understanding of, and humbly thank the members of Bachelor Nation who have reached out to me to hold me accountable. I promise to do better.”

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