This season’s problematic Bachelor suitor, Rachael Kirkconnell, has finally broken her silence after spending weeks sparking controversy online. In an Instagram post on Thursday night, the Georgia native Kirkconnell wrote, “I’m here to say I was wrong … I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.” Kirkconnell’s scandal began when racially insensitive social-media posts of hers began circulating online, including photos featuring the 24-year old graphic designer at an antebellum-themed party in college in 2018. “At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them,” she continues. “My age or when it happened does not excuse anything. They are not acceptable or okay in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.”
Kirkconnell’s scandal has even enveloped longtime Bachelor host Chris Harrison, who issued an apology on Wednesday for defending the Georgia native in an interview on Extra with the first Black Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay. “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,” said Harrison in a statement posted on social media. Kirkconnell is very much still in the running to win the heart of Matt James, the first Black Bachelor in franchise history, with Chris Harrison confirming that Kirkconnell was not present for the recently taped Women Tell All special, which reunites contestants who are not finalists ahead of the series finale. “Racial progress and unity are impossible without (white) accountability, and I deserve to be held accountable for my actions,” Kirkconnell wrote. “I will never grow unless I recognize what I have done is wrong. I don’t think one apology means that I deserve your forgiveness, but rather I hope I can earn your forgiveness through my future actions.” Kirkconnell is certainly not the first member of Bachelor Nation to be involved in a racism-based scandal, but here’s hoping she’s the last.