‘The Bachelor’ Matt James Breaks Silence on Chris Harrison Controversy: ‘Troubling and Painful’



The Bachelor” lead Matt James has damaged his silence on the escalating controversy surrounding the present, as longtime host Chris Harrison stays beneath fireplace for perpetuating racism throughout a current interview.

James, the primary Black star of “The Bachelor,” isn’t just calling out Harrison for his “troubling and painful” phrases, however can be holding the general franchise accountable for its dealing with of range and race over the 20 years it has been on-air.

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“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,” James wrote on his Instagram on Monday, hours earlier than a brand new episode of “The Bachelor” is ready to air on ABC.

The controversy first erupted earlier this yr, when former pictures of contestant Rachael Kirkconnell — a present frontrunner, who continues to be within the operating on James’ season — emerged on social media, displaying her in attendance at an antebellum-themed fraternity formal in 2018. Kirkconnell was additionally accused on TikTok of racially-insensitive habits, together with liking pictures containing the Confederate flag.

Harrison then went on the leisure information present, “Extra,” to take a seat down with former “Bachelorette” and correspondent, Rachel Lindsay, who requested Harrison concerning the controversy surrounding Kirkconnell. During the prolonged dialogue with Lindsay, Harrison went to nice lengths to seemingly defend Kirkconnell, which resulted in widespread criticism and led to Harrison issuing an apology for “speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism.”

Soon after, Harrison introduced he could be stepping except for the franchise for an undisclosed time period, together with not showing on “After the Final Rose,” which can function the ultimate episode of James’ season.

In his assertion on Monday, James took subject with each Harrison and the “incredibly disappointing” pictures of Kirkconnell, along with the franchise as a complete, which he says has “fallen short” with regards to coping with range and race.

“The reality is that I’m learning about these situations in real time, and it has been devastating and heartbreaking to put it bluntly,” James wrote.

“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,” James continued. “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 and reporting, raised important questions and resulted in inspiring displays of solidarity from The Bachelor nation,” James continued.” “It has also pushed me to reevaluate 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.”

James concluded his heartfelt assertion by writing, “I will continue to process this experience, and you will hear more from me in the end. My greatest prayer is that this is an inflection point that results in real and institutional change for the better.”

Previously, James had spoken about Kirkconnell’s social media pictures, however his preliminary feedback had been made earlier than Harrison’s controversial interview and earlier than extra info surrounding Kirkconnell got here to gentle — on the time, the contestant had not spoken concerning the authenticity of the pictures.

“I have not spoken to anybody since the show ended, but I would say that you have to be really careful about what you are doing on social media,” James stated in early Feb., throughout in interview with Entertainment Tonight, when requested concerning the allegations. “Rumors are dark and nasty and can ruin people’s lives. So I would give people the benefit of the doubt, and hopefully she will have her time to speak on that.”

As James wrote on his social media on Monday, he has been discovering new info, together with the viewers at home, within the time since filming on his season wrapped.

Shortly following Harrison’s “Extra” interview with Lindsay, Kirkconnell got here ahead with her personal apology assertion. “While there have been rumors circulating, there have also been truths that have come to light that I need to address. I hear you, and I’m here to say I was wrong,” Kirkconnell wrote, partially. “At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them…I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.”

As the controversy has continued to escalate, many contestants from “The Bachelor” have banded collectively to talk out towards the franchise’s race points, together with 25 ladies from James’ season, which had probably the most numerous forged, thus far.

“We are the women of ‘Bachelor’ Season 25,” the ladies posted, earlier this month. “Twenty-five women who identify as BIPOC were cast on this historic season that was meant to represent change. We are deeply disappointed and want to make it clear that we denounce any defense of racism. Any defense of racist behavior denies the lived and continued experiences of BIPOC individuals. These experiences are not to be exploited or tokenized.”

ABC has not launched any assertion concerning the controversy, at this level. Variety has reached out to the community for remark with reference to James’ publish.

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