“Bachelor” star Matt James revealed he ended things with his pick Rachael Kirkconnell after she was accused of engaging in racist behavior.
James and Kirkconnell spoke for the first time since the split during Monday’s episode of “The Bachelor.”
Kirkconnell has been accused of racist behavior after photos surfaced of her attending a plantation-themed fraternity party back in 2018. James claimed he dismissed the accusations against Kirkconnell as rumors at first, but ultimately ended the relationship after the photos surfaced and she publicly apologized. (RELATED: ‘Bachelor’ Contestant Rachael Kirkconnell Tells Fans To Stop Defending Her After She Was Accused Of Racism)
“If you don’t understand that something like that is problematic in 2018, there’s a lot of me that you won’t understand,” James said, referencing the photos of Kirkconnell wearing a plantation-style dress. “I stepped back and let her do the work she’s committed to doing.”
Kirkconnell claimed she was “blindsided” by James ending things with her, but now understands that he was “really, really hurt” by her past actions.
Kirkconnell attempted to apologize to James, but he was visibly upset on the show.
“It’s heartbreaking, it’s disappointing,” James told Kirkconnell. “When I questioned our relationship, it was in the context of you not understanding my blackness … that’s why we can’t be in a relationship.”
Kirkconnell’s past actions have brought drama to the franchise. Host Chris Harrison stepped back from his role in the show after he attempted to defend Kirkconnell. He faced backlash after requesting that people give Kirkconnell “a little grace, a little understanding” when it comes to alleged behavior from the past during an interview with the franchise’s first black “Bachelorette” Rachel Lindsay.