During the Feb. 1 pre-taped episode, she told James she loved him, and he returned the favor. On Monday night’s episode, singer and social activist Aloe Blacc performed a private concert for Kirkconnell and James. James will meet Kirkconnell’s family in Atlanta during next Monday’s episode as part of the “hometown” visit portion of the show.
Nobody acknowledged whether the posts were legitimate until late last week when Kirkconnell posted an Instagram apology.
She wrote in that apology that she is “ashamed about my lack of education,” and she is “learning and will continue to learn how to be antiracist... 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.”
Last week, long-time “Bachelor” host Chris Harrison defended Kirkconnell’s past behavior while being interviewed by Rachel Lindsay, the first Black “Bachelorette,” on Extra, saying he is not “the woke police.”
But he then became a target himself and had to apologize, too.
“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,” he wrote Saturday. “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 firsthand 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.”
Harrison said he’s going to step away from the show as host for an unspecified time, though the entire season is already pre-taped. In the short term, this effectively only keeps him off the “After the Rose” live special that airs after the season finale.
The female cast of “The Bachelor” also released a joint note regarding Harrison’s initial comments: “We are deeply disappointed and want to make it clear that we denounce any defense of racism. Any defense of racist behavior denies the lived and continued experiences of BIPOC [Black, Indigenous People and People of Color] individuals. These experiences are not to be exploited or tokenized.”
Lindsay herself said she will no longer be associated with “The Bachelor” after her current contract is up.
“I’m exhausted. I have truly had enough,” Lindsay said on her Higher Learning podcast following her interview with Harrison. “How much more do I want to be affiliated with this? I said I was gonna leave if they didn’t have leads of color. OK, they did that, and they made some other changes. They hired a diversity consultant. Who didn’t attend the class? Did Chris Harrison not sit through that? I can’t take it anymore. I’m contractually bound in some ways. But when it’s up, I am too.”
WHERE TO WATCH
“The Bachelor,” 8 p.m. Mondays on ABC