Rachael Kirkconnell Admits She Was Devastated To ‘Hurt’ Matt With Her Racism Controversy

During 'After the Final Rose,' Rachael Kirkconnell addressed her racism scandal and opened up about Matt breaking up with her over the controversy.

racahel kirkconnell
View gallery
Image Credit: ABC

Rachael Kirkconnell is continuing to take accountability for her past racist behavior. On The Bachelor: After The Final Rose, she discussed the controversy with host, Emmanuel Acho, along with her ex, Matt James. Matt and Rachael left The Bachelor as a couple when filming ended last fall, but have since split.

“[I] was living in this ignorance without even thinking about who it would be hurting,” Rachael said. “I never once asked myself at any point, what’s the tradition behind this? What does this represent? Why do we wear those dresses? I’m not going to sit here and say I didn’t know any better. I could’ve easily asked myself those questions. I never took the time to make that connection. If I would’ve taken the time, I easily could’ve understood what was wrong with it.”

rachael kirkconnell
Rachael Kirkconnell during a rose ceremony on ‘The Bachelor.’ (ABC)

As season 25 of The Bachelor was airing, controversial photos from Rachael’s past resurfaced. The pictures in question featured Rachael attending an Old South-themed party while in college. A TikTok user also uncovered offensive photos that Rachael had liked on Instagram, including one of two other ladies standing in front of a Confederate flag. Rachael has issued previous apologies on social media, but After The Final Rose was the first time that she addressed the controversy on television.

“I don’t want to sit here and blame my upbringing or where I grew up,” Rachael continued. “In my eyes, there’s no excuse. I got a lot of people saying, ‘This is normal where I grew up.’ I think that people need to realize that just saying, ‘This is normal where I cam from, or common where I came from,’ that doesn’t make it right or okay.”

Rachael confirmed that she’s been educating herself in recent weeks, but is aware that nothing will change until she puts that education into play. She also opened up about how upset she was for hurting Matt. “When he first called me to end things, my initial reaction was I was very confused,” Rachael said. “Once that initial reaction went away, I thought about how strong our relationship was, so for him to end things, he must’ve been very, very hurt by everything. It was hard because I lost the love of my life, but in the process of that, I hurt him by doing so.”

More From Our Partners