Bachelor lead Matt James has released a statement in the wake of Chris Harrison’s interview with Rachel Lindsay, in which the host defended contestant Rachael Kirkconnell amid a racism controversy. Matt was initially the first voice from the franchise to speak up about Rachael, but he was followed by Chris’s puzzling interview with Rachel Lindsay, which led to the host stepping aside from the franchise. Rachael has since addressed the controversy herself.
Since then, Matt has focused on his duties as the Bachelor, but ahead of the show airing hometown dates tonight with the final four (Bri Springs, Michelle Young, Serena Pitt, and yes, Rachael Kirkconnell), he spoke out about everything that has transpired.
Here’s what Matt’s statement says, in full:
“The past few weeks have been some of the most challenging of my life, and while there are several episodes left of the season, it is important that I take the time to address the troubling information that has come to light since we wrapped filming, including the incredibly disappointing photos of Rachael Kirkconnell and the interview between Rachel Lindsay and Chris Harrison. The reality is that I’m learning about these situations in real time, and it has been devastating and heartbreaking to put it bluntly. Chris’s failure to receive and understand the emotional labor that my friend Rachel Lindsay was taking on by graciously and patiently explaining the racist history of the Antebellum South, a painful history that every American should understand intimately, was troubling and painful to watch. As Black people and allies immediately knew and understood, it was a clear reflection of a much larger issue that The Bachelor franchise has fallen short on addressing adequately for years.
This moment has sparked critical conversations and reporting, raised important questions, and resulted in inspiring displays of solidarity from The Bachelor nation. It has also pushed me to reevaluate and process what my experience on The Bachelor represents, not just for me, but for all the contestants of color, especially the Black contestants of this season and seasons past, and for you, the viewers at home.
I will continue to process this experience, and you will hear more from me in the end. My greatest prayer is that this is an inflection point that results in real and institutional change for the better.”
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