Controversy in the bachelor world

The Bachelor world has been under heat in recent weeks, from the numerous episodes that created drama to the new controversy with the host of the show, Chris Harrison, who has been the host of the show since 2002. 

Rumors have arisen about a contestant from this season, Rachel Kirkconnell. She is being accused of attending an Old South Antebellum-themed party in her college years. Antebellum parties are known as celebrations of the Antebellum-era south and of the Confederacy. By throwing or attending one of these parties, folks are essentially paying homage to the Confederate south and violent racism of the era. Claims also surfaced about her making fun of fellow classmates for liking Black men. 

The franchise had made no comment on the situation until Chris Harrison was interviewed by former Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay. She questioned Chris about the posts and his view. He ended up getting extremely defensive and asked viewers to give her “grace” as Kirkconnell had not yet spoken on the situation. He seemingly defended her actions, and The Bachelor fans did not take this lightly, and neither did ABC. 

After the interview blew up on social media platforms, many of the women from this season spoke out, denouncing racist actions, and showing their support for Rachel Lindsay. 

As for the most prominent people in this drama, it took a few days for Matt James, Chris Harrison, and Rachel Kirkconnell herself to speak out. Chris Harrison took his apology to social media, noting how sorry he was and how he plans to do better. He also dropped the bombshell that he will be “stepping back” from The Bachelor franchise for the time being. 

Replacing Chris Harrison at the moment is former football player, bestselling author, and host of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, Emmanuel Acho. He will be hosting the After the Final Rose special that airs after the finale. It is unclear at this point whether Emmanuel Acho will be the host for future seasons of The Bachelor, or whether he is a fill-in while Chris Harrison focuses on personal growth.

As for the star of the show, bachelor Matt James, spoke out through social media on February 22. He made an Instagram post stating his feelings on the controversy, also addressing the The Bachelor franchise’s history with the lack of diversity. He stated how he stood with Rachel Lindsay, and called viewers to action. In the post he stated, “My greatest prayer is that this is an inflection point that results in real and institutional change for the better.”

Finally, contestant Rachael Kirkconnell spoke out. She also took to social media to apologize. She apologized to the BIPOC communities she affected, and stated that she was in the wrong. Since the apology, she has stated she will utilize her platform to become an antiracist ally.

It has been apparent for years that The Bachelor franchise has needed more inclusion in diversity. However, controversy like this was yet to be seen within the show. After this firestorm, it is obvious the viewers want to see real change. Will ABC live up to their promises, or fall short?