While he previously tweeted that speaking out is something “she’s wanted to do for weeks but has not been allowed to by production,” his latest claims point the finger at ABC.
“Here’s the latest: I’ve been told that Rachael’s statement has been rejected by ABC,” Reality Steve wrote on Twitter. “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.”
He continued the thread, writing, “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.”
Kirkconnell, who is vying for the heart of the franchise’s first Black Bachelor, has faced accusations of racism since the night of the premiere. She was accused on TikTok of bullying someone in High School for dating Black men. Since then, additional photos have emerged, the latest of which is Kirkconnell dressed up for an antebellum-style fraternity party. In the wake of the latest images, franchise host Chris Harrison called on fans to have “a little grace” toward the embattled star, which drew immediate criticism. He apologized within the day.
Kirkconnell Faces Accusations of Racism and Cultural Appropriation
The night of the premiere, Maddy Bierster shared a clip on TikTok of Kirkconnell talking to Bachelor Matt James with the writing, “girlieeee, remember when you bullied me in high school for liking black guys???”
She went on to detail her accusations of bullying that “happened to me by her friend group in high school,” though she did not have any concrete evidence. Bierster also shared screenshots of direct messages she received from others backing up her claims.
Since then, images have surfaced on Reddit seemingly showing Kirkconnell liking photos of other women posing in front of the Confederate flag and dressed in ponchos and sombreros. The Cumming, Georgia native has also been photographed dressed up in a Native American costume.
Most recently, photos emerged on Reddit of Kirkconnell attending “the Kappa Alpha Order ‘Old South’ formal, an antebellum plantation themed ball.”
In 2016, the Kappa Alpha’s national chapter updated their bylaws to ban the use of “Old South” for events. The amendment read, “Chapters shall not sponsor functions with the name Old South or functions with any similar name. All functions and activities must be conducted with restraint and dignity and without trappings and symbols that might be misinterpreted and objectionable to the general public.” This updated policy includes the ban of Confederate uniforms.
Harrison Apologized for Calling on Bachelor Nation to Provide Kirkconnell With ‘Grace’
While speaking with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay on Extra, Harrison addressed the accusations facing Kirkconnell.
“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,” Harrison said to the Bachelor Happy Hour host. He said it is “alarming” that “people are just tearing this girl’s life apart and diving into, like, her parents and her parents’ voting record.”
When Lindsay said the “Old South” party was “not a good look”, Harrison responded, “Well, Rachel is it a good look in 2018? Or, is it not a good look in 2021? Because there’s a big difference.”
Lindsay asserted “It’s not a good look ever.”
Since the appearance, Harrison faced near-immediate criticism and calls for his removal. A Change.org petition calling for resignation is still gaining momentum with nearly 23,000 of 25,000 requested signatures.
He issued an apology on Instagram within the day, reading:
“To my Bachelor Nation family — I will always own a mistake when I make one, so I am here to extend a sincere apology. 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. 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.”
In the wake of the interview, Rachel Lindsay hinted that her partnership with the franchise may soon be over.