During the final episode of “The Bachelor” Rachael Kirkconnell won the affections of her dream guy Matt James, but amid allegations of racism against her after the show finished shooting, James dropped her like a rock.
Kirkconnell made headlines when she was called out for racism after photos of her attending an “Old South” plantation party in 2018 surfaced last month. The scandal that followed took down “Bachelor” host Chris Harrison when he encouraged “a little compassion” until Kirkconnell had the chance to speak on the issue, then took a leave of absence from his position after being accused of racism himself.
During the “After the Final Rose” special that followed the finale, Kirkconnell offered her take on the photo. “I see someone who was living in this ignorance without even thinking about who it would be hurting. I never once asked myself at any point, like, ‘What’s the tradition behind this? What does this represent? Why do we wear those dresses?’”
Though James and Kirkconnell concluded the final episode in a relationship, but not engaged, James confirmed that he had ended it during the special. “As Rachael acknowledged in her apology, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done…I have to take a step back and allow her to put in that work, and I’m looking forward to seeing her put in that work.”
He went on to explain why he had severed the relationship. “You wanna believe that you know your person better than anybody else knows your person, and while all this controversy’s swirling around, who Rachael is, things that she might have attended, and pictures that she liked and people that she’s associated with,” James continued. “Before Rachael addressed anything or Chris Harrison spoke on anything, I’m trying to be there for her, and I dismissed them as rumors, because that’s what they were to me. You hear things that are heartbreaking, and you just pray they’re not true. And then, when you find out that they are it just makes you question everything.”
“When she spoke out and publicly acknowledged that she would do better and she apologized is when I was finally able to take check on myself and see where I was at, and I wasn’t OK…” He concluded. “It was in that moment and the conversation that I had that [I realized that] Rachael might not understand what it means to be Black in America.”