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Bachelor’s Matt James Responds to Rachael Kirkconnell’s Controversial Social Media Activity: ‘Rumors Are Dark and Nasty’

His honest take. Matt James opened up about the controversy surrounding Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell as rumors about her beliefs spread on social media.

Related: Everything Matt James Has Said About His ‘Bachelor’ Journey

The 29-year-old North Carolina native’s romantic one-on-one date with the 24-year-old graphic designer aired on Monday, February 1, and both of the reality stars confessed that they were falling for one another. However, the sweet moment was overshadowed by comments from Bachelor Nation fans, who uncovered some questionable activity from Rachael’s past.

“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,” Matt told Entertainment Tonight on Tuesday, February 2, addressing allegations from two separate TikTok users. “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.”

Matt James Breaks His Silence on Rachael Kirkconnell's Controversial Social Media Activity 1
Rachael and Matt James ABC/Craig Sjodin

After the season 25 premiere of The Bachelor in January, a TikTok user accused Rachael of bullying her in the past for dating Black men. More recently, another social media user alleged that Rachael had a history of “liking” racially-charged photos and donning culturally-insensitive costumes. While the Georgia native hasn’t yet commented on the rumors herself, Matt is hoping that she’ll break her silence.

Related: 12 Times 'Bachelor' and 'Bachelorette' Contestants Called Out Producers

“There’s a lot of stuff going around about the women that were involved in the show,” he said on Tuesday. “I would just give them a chance to kind of [say] their piece, whether that is someone who was gone night one or someone who went home last night. Everyone has a story, and I would just be receptive to that.”

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Despite the apparent controversy, the real estate broker had his eyes on Rachael from the beginning of his Bachelor journey — and said his feelings for her were totally genuine.

“This has been a steady progression … since the first week,” he said of his vulnerable confession on Monday’s episode. “It was a feeling I hadn’t felt, and … this is nothing that [producers are] telling me to say or do, it’s just — I felt it in the moment and I had never felt it before.”

Rachael isn’t the only one of the season 25 stars who’ve sparked backlash in recent weeks. Viewers watched Matt confront Anna Redman on Monday after she claimed that fellow contestant Brittany Galvin was “entertaining men for money” as an escort. Before Anna, 24, was ultimately sent home for her behavior, Brittany, 23, took to social media to address the rumors.

“It’s 2021 you know how prominent sex workers are in this world? Or how many people have OnlyFans? Why are we still judging others?” the Illinois native wrote in an Instagram Story on January 28. “Jealousy and hate really come out when others are doing better in life but why? Focus on yourself, and if you’re not happy with where you’re at then work on yourself!”

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

Brittany vehemently denied Anna’s allegations, adding, “I am NOT an escort. And for the people who are, don’t let others tear you down. Keep sharing your stories with me because they are so powerful. I’m here to support you like how you have to me! … Lastly, yes it was a sh–ty thing to do, but let’s not destroy someone’s life over it. Bringing others down is exactly what I don’t want. We are bigger and better than that. Love you all.”

The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

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