The Bachelor Matt James has spoken out on the controversy surrounding the show, as host Chris Harrison remains under fire after a problematic interview with Rachel Lindsay.
Matt is calling out Chris for his “troubling and painful” words, and also criticizing the franchise as a whole for not properly addressing diversity and race over two decades of the show airing on ABC.
Matt posted his message on Instagram hours before a new episode of The Bachelor aired.
Read Matt’s message below:
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 Rachel 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. 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 in reporting, raised important questions, and resulted in inspiring displays of solidarity from The Bachelor Nation. It has also pushed me to re-evaluate 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 past, and for you, the viewers at home.
I will continue to process this experience, and you will hear more for me in the end. My greatest prayer is that this is an inflection point that results in real and institutional change for the better.
The ongoing saga began when photos of frontrunner Rachael Kirkconnell surfaced showing her dressed up for an antebellum themed formal with her sorority sisters. Sleuths on Tik Tok also documented a bunch of racist behavior, such as liking racist photos.
Subsequently, Rachel Lindsay interviewed Chris on Extra, where she works as a correspondent The conversation was contentious, with Chris insisting that Rachel not be “canceled” for his behavior. He also criticized “woke” culture and claimed stuff that happened in 2018 was like ancient history.
Afterword, the BIPOC cast members of The Bachelor posted a note of solidarity for Rachel. Kirkconnel apologized, but in the end, Rachel decided to quit working with the Bachelor franchise.
Chris apologized as well, and then announced he was stepping away from his The Bachelor duties for now. He will not host the live After the Rose special that airs after the finale.