Matt James Speaks Out About The Bachelor Controversy

Matt James made history when he became the first ever Black Bachelorbut in recent weeks there's been a dark cloud over the long-running franchise. It all began when Rachael Kirkconnell, a current contestant on James' season, was revealed to have attended an antebellum-themed fraternity ball, dressed up in Native American dress, and liked several pro-confederacy tweets. She apologized on Instagram, but the damage was done. Then, in a wild move, Bachelor host Chris Harrison defended Kirkconnell in a chat with the first Black BacheloretteRachel Lindsay. 

He quickly walked back his comments and opted to take a break from hosting the show for good measure, too. Then, complicating matters further, it transpired former Bachelorette Hannah Brown had covertly deleted a photo of her wearing a potentially offensive southern costume. Lindsay called Brown out, naturally, while the women of color who are currently starring on James's season publicly stood with the outspoken reality star, letting viewers know racism is not acceptable in any form. Now, James himself has finally made his position on the ensuing controversy clear. 

Matt James reckons the issues with the franchise run deep

Taking to Instagram, James posted a lengthy statement to advise "the past few weeks have been some of the most challenging of my life" but, although we're not done with his season just yet, the Bachelor star felt it was important to let fans know he's taken everything that's happened on board. "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 explained. James added, "Chris' 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." 

The Bachelor star made it clear that Harrison's lack of understanding showcases how this is a deeper issue within the franchise. He advised, "This moment has sparked critical conversations and reporting, raised important questions, and resulted in inspiring displays of solidarity from The Bachelor nation," including from him personally. James promised to continue learning and having difficult conversations. Finally, he expressed hope "this is an inflection point that results in real and institutional change for the better."