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Matt James Breaks Silence on Rachael Kirkconnell Controversy & His Experience as 'The Bachelor'

Matt James Breaks Silence on Rachael Kirkconnell Controversy & His Experience as 'The Bachelor'

Matt James, the first Black star of The Bachelor, is speaking out in a new statement about his experience on the show and the controversy surrounding contestant Rachael Kirkconnell.

For those that don’t know, Rachael received backlash after photos surfaced of her attending a plantation-themed party. People also discovered that she “liked” photos that featured friends posing in front of Confederate flags.

The Bachelor host Chris Harrison then gave an interview in which he defended her and he said some really terrible things, which led to him stepping away from the remainder of the season.

Now, Matt is finally breaking his silence on everything that happened.

Click inside to read his statement…

Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell

“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,” Matt said in his statement.

He continued, “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 notion. It has also pushed me to reevaluate and process what my experience on The Bachelor represents, not just for me, but for all of the contestants of color, especially the Black contestants of this season and seasons post, and for you, the viewers at home,” he added.

Matt concluded, “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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