The Bachelor became a hot topic after photos of a contestant at a plantation-themed party went viral. Host Chris Harrision defended the racist imagery during an interview with Rachel Lindsay, the first Black bachelorette. Matt James, the show’s firsts Black bachelor, is now speaking out.
James wrote on Instagram “The reality is that I’m learning about these situations in real time, and it has been devastating and heartbreaking to put it bluntly.”
He continued, “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 also added, “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.”
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In case you missed it, during an interview with Lindsay on Extra, Harrison asked for “compassion” for contestant Rachael Kirkconnell.
“We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion because I’ve seen some stuff online — again this judge-jury-executioner thing — where people are just tearing this girl’s life apart and diving into, like, her parents and her parents’ voting record. It’s unbelievably alarming to watch this.”
When Lindsay said it was not a “good look,” Harrison responded with, “Well, Rachel is it a good look in 2018? Or, is it not a good look in 2021? Because there’s a big difference.”
Chris Harrison has since apologized and temporarily stepped down as host of The Bachelor.
Watch the exchange between Harrison and Rachel Lindsay below: