Rachael Kirkconnell is smack dab in the middle of the biggest Bachelor scandal in show history.
And it has nothing to do with anything she said or did on the actual air.
Instead, it had everything to do with various things Kirkconnell did before she was ever cast on this program, as the alleged winner of Season 25 has admitted that she’s ashamed of her past.
Kirkconnell, as you very likely know by now, earns the final rose from Matt James, according to a number of The Bachelor spoilers.
Earlier this year, however, a former high school classmate claimed that Rachael used to give white women a hard time any time they dated a Black man.
We can also say for certain that she Liked a number of social media posts that featured the Confederate Flag — and attended a plantation-themed party in 2018.
Asked about these past actions several weeks ago, Chris Harrison refused to judge Rachael, asking folks to show her “compassion,” while sounding very uncompassionate to people of color.
After he came under fire for these remarks, Harrison apologized and said he was stepping away as host for a bit.
Kirkconnell, to her credit, also admitted that this behavior was “racist and wrong.”
But now the polarizing suitor is back with another statement — and a pointed plea.
“Over the last few weeks, since I put my statement out, I’ve gotten a lot of messages,” Kirkconnell said to open an Instagram video on Thursday.
“I’ve got a lot of people asking me, well, what have you done to change since then?
“And I’ve also had a lot of people message me saying that they aren’t understanding why people are so upset.
“But they want to, and they’ve asked for resources, which I think is great.”
This season, of course, marks the first in franchise history to be led by a Black man, which means that race was a major topic of interest on the show long before Rachael’s past was exposed.
“Then there’s also people messaging me saying ‘You know, you’ve done nothing wrong, don’t listen to people,'” Kirkconnell continued.
“I think that the first big step in all of this is white people stepping up and taking accountability.
“Things will never change if we don’t all work together in working towards this racial progress and this unity that we want.”
Kirkconnell went on to note that she has been “hesitant” to share anti-racism resources on her platform because she didn’t want observers “thinking that it’s performative or that it’s something that I don’t truly stand by.”
Rachael wants to keep it real and be helpful and now thinks this is the best way to accomplish that goal.
“I’ve come to realize that sitting aside and hiding in the corner and, you know, avoid[ing] being called performative — that doesn’t help anyone or anything,” she explained.
“Even if that is what people think when I speak on these subjects of injustice and racism, you know, that’s not what really matters.”
As noted above, James reportedly selects Kirkconnell to be his final contestant standing… but has since broken up with her.
The focus of late, however, has been on this race-based scandal away from ABC cameras and not on who James ends up falling for the hardest.
“This entire movement in where we are in this country, it’s just so much bigger than this,” Rachael continued.
“I want and need to use my privilege and my platform that I so do not deserve just to shine a light on these issues and try and do what I can to you know take a step in the right direction.”
Kirkconnell concluded her video by asking anyone who is “defending” her to “please stop.”
“If you are in my comments or defending me anywhere telling people that I did nothing wrong, that there’s nothing to be hurt about, there’s nothing to be angry about or offended about, please stop,” she said.
“That’s not our place to tell people what they can and can’t be offended about.
“That’s wrong and that’s part of the problem.”
“So please stop saying that I did nothing wrong. That’s not true,” she Kirkconnell added, emphasizing that instead people should “encourage others around you to do better.”
Kirkconnell also shared multiple Instagram accounts that provide anti-racism resources on her Instagram Story, stating in one slide:
“I promise to continue to amplify BIPOC voices and resources if there’s a chance these can reach someone and begin conversations, because breaking the generational chain of racism starts with conversations and education.
“It’s one of the biggest steps we can take.”
Three days before Rachael opened up in this manner, James addressed the controversy in detail.
The Bachelor labeled it as “devastating and heartbreaking, to put it bluntly” and said the photos of Kirkconnell that have emerged are “disappointing.”
An insider, meanwhile, told People Magazine that Harrison may very well be finished as host.
“A lot of work is being done behind the scenes to make the appropriate changes and proper moves going forward with the franchise,” this source said.
As for Harrison?
The source added:
“There are talks happening regarding Chris Harrison and his future with the show.”