Bachelor's Rachael Kirkconnell apologizes for past 'racist' actions

The Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell – who is vying for the heart of the first black bachelor Matt James – apologizes for past ‘offensive and racist’ behavior after photos emerge of her at plantation-themed frat party

  • Rachael Kirkconnell, a 24-year-old graphic artist from Cumming, Georgia, issued the apology on Thursday via Instagram
  • It comes after photos emerged last month of her at a antebellum plantation-themed fraternity party in 2018 
  • Kirkconnell was also hit with allegations that she had ‘ridiculed’ a woman for dating black men and shared QAnon conspiracy posts on social media
  • She is currently a contestant on The Bachelor who is vying for the heart of the first black bachelor Matt James  
  • In her apology, Kirkconnell said she ‘didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were’ and that her age wasn’t an excuse
  • She went on to say: ‘I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist’ 

Apology tour: Bachelor front runner Rachael Kirkconnell, 24, issued an apology on Thursday for ‘offensive and racist’ actions

A white contestant on The Bachelor who is vying for the heart of the first black bachelor Matt James has apologized for her past ‘offensive and racist’ behavior after photos emerged of her antebellum plantation-themed frat party. 

Rachael Kirkconnell, a 24-year-old graphic artist from Cumming, Georgia, issued the apology on Thursday via Instagram.

The racist allegations first emerged publicly last month when the plantation photos came to light. 

Kirkconnell was subsequently hit with claims that she ‘ridiculed’ a woman for dating black men and has previously shared QAnon conspiracy posts.

She is still a contestant on the show. James has not commented publicly in the wake of her apology. 

‘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,’ Kirkconnell said in her long-winded apology. 

‘At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist 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.’ 

‘I am sorry to the communities and individuals that my actions harmed and offended. 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.’

DailyMail.com has contacted ABC for comment.  

Tone deaf: Photos of her from 2018 at a plantation themed formal surfaced online, with multiple users additionally adding that she had bullied a classmate in high school for dating black guys

Addressing the rumors: The Georgia native issued a lengthy apology and demanded she be ‘held accountable for her actions’ and asking for ‘forgiveness’  

The issue first came to light after a TikTok user named Feministmama did a deep dive on Kirkconnell’s social media activity.

Photos surfaced of her attending a plantation-themed formal in college.

Other photos showed her dressing up as a Native American on Halloween. 

Kirkconnell was accused of also liking racist photos on Instagram.   

Social media users pointed out that she had allegedly shared Q-anon related conspiracy theories online.    

Another TikTok user alleged that Kirkconnell and her friends bullied her in high school for dating black men. 

In her long apology, Kirkconnell said that any fans who didn’t understand how her past behavior was problematic should learn from her mistakes and ‘use them as a teachable moment’.  

‘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 said.  

Front runner: Kirkconnell’s past began to be unearthed following her rise to fame on the current Bachelor season, as she vies for James’ heart who has made history as the first black bachelor 

Deep dive: A TikTok user looked closely into Rachael’s social media history, alleging that she was seen liking racist photos on Instagram and posting Q-anon conspiracy theories; pictured January 26

‘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 can prove this to you moving forward.’

‘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 that I deserve your forgiveness, but rather I hope I can earn your forgiveness through my future actions.’  

It comes just one day after longtime show host Chris Harrison also apologized after facing backlash from fans for defending Kirkconnell.  

Harrison was discussing the photos of Kirkconnell at the plantation themed party in an Extra TV interview with the first black Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, who starred on the show in 2017. 

Lindsay had said: ‘The picture was from 2018 at an Old South antebellum party. That’s 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.

‘This judge, jury, executioner thing where people are just tearing this girl’s life apart… Until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this.’ 

In defense: ‘This judge, jury, executioner thing where people are just tearing this girl’s life apart,’ Harrison told Lindsay

Mea culpa: Harrison issued an apology on Wednesday after fans were outraged he seemed to defend Rachael’s actions on an Extra TV interview with Lindsay 

In his own apology, Harrison said: ‘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 about 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.’ 

James, who is the first black Bachelor, had acknowledged the accusations against Kirkconnell during an interview with Entertainment Tonight on February 2 but warned people not to rush to any judgement.

‘I would just warn people to be careful about making accusations before someone’s had a chance to speak on it,’ he said at the time.

‘Rumors are dark, and they’re nasty, and they can ruin people’s lives, so… I would give people the benefit of the doubt, and hopefully, she’ll have her time to speak on that.’ 

Women tell all: ‘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,’ she wrote in her apology, with Harrison promising the issue will be addressed on the Women Tell All special 

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