Matt James Speaks Out as ‘The Bachelor’ Ignores ‘Devastating’ Racism Controversy
The Bachelor might still be pretending that the uproar surrounding this season’s frontrunner, Rachael Kirkconnell, and host Chris Harrison off-screen doesn’t exist—but Matt James, this season’s lead and the franchise’s first Black Bachelor, has spoken out.
Monday’s episode continued the pattern set by weeks past, ignoring the backlash that ensued after fans discovered images of Kirkconnell attending an Antebellum South-themed party, wearing offensive Halloween costumes, and “liking” social media posts including MAGA hats and Confederate flags. There was also no mention of Chris Harrison announcing he would not be a part of the season’s “After the Final Rose” reunion after fans called him out for defending Kirkconnell’s actions during a conversation with Rachel Lindsay on Extra, in which Harrison ignored and talked over Lindsay as he called for “grace” toward Kirkconnell. (Since that interview, Lindsay has announced plans to step away from The Bachelor once her contract with the franchise ends.)
But hours before ABC would air its deceptively benign Hometown Date episode, Matt James issued a statement on Instagram. Following Lindsay’s lead—as well as all of his contestants who issued a joint statement renouncing racism on the same day that Kirkconnell issued an apology—James spoke out on the franchise’s failings on race.