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‘Bachelor’ Contestant Rachael Kirkconnell Responds to People Not Accepting Her Apology Amid Racism Controversy

After apologizing for past racially insensitive behavior, The Bachelor‘s Rachael Kirkconnell is addressing critics.

Related: Biggest Bachelor Nation Scandals of All Time

“My statement and apology is for the people of color that i have offended, if you do not identify as BIPOC then it is not your apology to accept or not. please be respectful to those who have been affected,” the 24-year-old wrote via Instagram Story on Thursday, February 11.

Bachelor's Rachael Kirkconnell Responds to People Not Accepting Her Apology
Rachael Kirkconnell. Courtesy of Rachael Kirkconnell/Instagram

The Georgia native also reposted a statement from several women who competed alongside her on season 25 of The Bachelor.

Related: Chris Harrison's Controversial Interview About Rachael: Bachelor Nation Reacts

“We are the women of Bachelor Season 25. Twenty-five women who identify as BIPOC were cast on this historic season that was meant to represent change,” the statement began. “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.”

The statement concluded, “Rachel Lindsay continues to advocate with ‘grace’ for individuals who identify as BIPOC within this franchise. Just because she is speaking the loudest, doesn’t mean she is alone. We stand with her, we hear her, and we advocate for change alongside her.”

Kirkconnell issued her initial apology on Thursday, admitting to her wrongdoing and addressing rumors swirling about her past behavior.

“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,” she wrote via Instagram. “At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them. My age or when it happened does not excuse anything. They are not acceptable or okay in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.”

The reality TV personality concluded, “Racial progress and unity are impossible without (white) accountability, and I deserve to be held accountable for my actions. I will never grow unless I recognize what I have done is wrong. I don’t think one apology means that I deserve your forgiveness, but rather I hope I can earn your forgiveness through my future actions.”

Us editors discuss Colton Underwood’s coming out in this Here for the Right Reasons podcast highlight!

Kirkconnell’s apology comes after a number of allegations surfaced against her. Following the season 25 premiere of The Bachelor in January, a TikTok user came forward to accuse Kirkconnell of bullying her over her attraction to Black men. She was then accused of “liking” racist pics and posing for photos in a controversial costume. Since then, photos have surfaced of Kirkconnell at an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018.

Related: Former ‘Bachelor’ and ‘Bachelorette’ Leads: Where Are They Now?

Amid the controversy, Chris Harrison seemingly defended Kirkconnell, asking for fans to give her a chance to speak during an interview with Extra on Tuesday, February 9.

“First and foremost, I don’t know [exactly what’s going on]. I haven’t talked to Rachael about it, we all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion,” he said at the time.

The Bachelor host, 49, came under fire for those comments and apologized via Twitter shortly after. He admitted that he caused “harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism and for that I am so deeply sorry.”

Bachelor's Rachael Kirkconnell Responds to People Not Accepting Her Apology
Rachael and Matt James on the “The Bachelor.” Craig Sjodin/ABC

Kirkconnell and The Bachelor star Matt James confessed they were falling in love during a February 1 episode of the ABC series. James, 29, has since spoken out about her behavior.

“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,” he said in a February 2 interview with Entertainment Tonight. “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.”

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