Now, with several episodes remaining in the season, the bachelor himself has weighed in. In his most critical comments to date, Matt James wrote that the franchise has failed in its handling of the race. He described the photos as incredibly disappointing and Chris Harrisons actions as a failure. He added that the last few weeks have been some of the most difficult of my life.
The moment sparked critical conversations and reporting, raised important questions and sparked inspiring displays of solidarity from The Bachelor nation, James, 29, wrote in a statement on his Instagram Monday. It also prompted me to re-evaluate and process what my experience on The Bachelor means, not only to me, but to all contestants of color, especially black contestants from this season and past seasons, and to you, home viewers. .
Singles stars rarely criticize the show while their seasons are underway. Before Monday, James had avoided outright criticism; responding to the appearance of the pre-war holiday photos, it says Entertainment Tonight, Rumors are dark and nasty and can ruin people’s lives. So I would give people the benefit of the doubt.
The ABC series has long been criticized for issues of race and representation. Two black men who auditioned for the show filed a racial discrimination class action lawsuit against ABC and Warner Horizon Television in 2012, alleging that people of color did not have the same consideration as others. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed; the show cast its first Latino star the following year.
The first Black Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay, arrived in 2017, but her season has not been without problems. One of the candidates had a history of racist tweets and accused a black candidate, whom he described as aggressive, of playing the race card.
Lindsay frequently speak on franchise struggles with diversity and problematic stories for people of color.
The current season’s firestorm began last month, when photos from the pre-war party were shared online. The photos were from 2018 fraternity party contestant Rachael Kirkconnell at the university. The 24-year-old Atlanta native, one of James’ early favorites, later apologized, write in an Instagram statementI was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.
By that point, however, the controversy had increased due to Harrisons comments. On February 9, a day before Kirkconnell issued his apology, Harrison gave an interview to Lindsay, now a correspondent for Extra. He said to her, The police are awake over there, and that poor girl Rachael has just been thrown to the lions. Seeing people tear up this girlish life, he added, was incredibly alarming. He apologized the next day.
In his statement on Monday, James noted that he was learning about these situations in real time, and that it was devastating and heartbreaking to put it bluntly.
Chriss’ failure to receive and understand the emotional work my friend Rachel Lindsay was undertaking in gracefully and patiently explaining the racist story of Antebellum South, a painful story every American should understand intimately, was unsettling and painful to watch, he added. As Blacks and their allies immediately knew and understood, this clearly reflected a much larger problem that The Bachelor franchise had failed to adequately address for years.
Jamess turns like Bachelor is not finished yet. In the episodes that have yet to air, Kirkconnell is one of the three remaining contestants and Harrison still appears as the host, though he’s now backed down. It makes the show weird, tweeted Blogger and Reality license spoiler Steve, who added: Nothing in any of these scenarios is more relevant, knowing what we know now.
For his part, James said he was still processing his experience with the show.
My biggest prayer, he wrote at the end of his statement, is that this is an inflection point that results in real and institutional change for the better.
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