Matt James responds to Chris Harrison and Rachael Kirkconnell controversy – Deadline

Matt James, the first black romantic actor for ABC The single person, spoke out against controversies surrounding host Chris Harrison and contestant Rachael Kirkconnell. James posted a statement on Instagram on Monday condemning the actions of Harrison and Kirkconnell.

“The reality is that I am learning these situations in real time, and it has been devastating and heartbreaking to put it bluntly,” he wrote. “Chris’ inability to receive and understand the emotional work my friend Rachel Lindsay was undertaking in gracefully and patiently explaining the racist story of Antebellum South, a painful story that every American should understand intimately, was unsettling and painful to watch. .

‘Bachelor’ host Chris Harrison to step aside and not appear on ‘After the Final Rose’ recap

James continues: “As Blacks and their allies immediately knew and understood, this was a clear reflection of a much larger problem that The Bachelor franchise has failed to adequately address for years.

Earlier this month, Kirkconnell received backlash after redesigning photos showing the 24-year-old was attending a formal plantation-themed fraternity before the war in 2018. The candidate apologized for the old women. photos, noting that she was ignorant and that her “ignorance was racist”.

Kirkconnell’s photos became the subject of an interview between Harrison and candidate Lindsay. In the Additional interview, Harrison defended the season favorite, noting the photos were taken a long time ago and suggesting Kirkconnell has become a target of cancellation culture. Following the interview and the social media backlash, Harrison stepped down as host and will not appear in the show’s recap episode.

With racism and racial issues in the spotlight of Bachelor Nation, James said controversies have prompted him to “re-evaluate and address what my experience on The Bachelor represents” for applicants of color, especially black applicants.

“I will continue to process this experience and you will hear more from me at the end,” he wrote. “My biggest prayer is that this is an inflection point that results in real and institutional change for the better.”

See James’ full statement below.

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