Controversy Rocks Bachelor Nation


Lindsey Brintwood, Writer

In the most dramatic season ever, bachelor Matt James’s journey to find love wrapped up on March 15th, and unfortunately, Matt James could not receive that happy ending that he desired after all. 

Twenty-Twenty was filled with African Americans standing up to fight for equal rights, and Bachelor Nation has been trying to take the necessary steps to represent the nation’s diversity. 

James’s season of the Bachelor was monumental because he was the first black bachelor in franchise history. 

He fell in love with Rachael Kirkconnel, and although the season did not end in an engagement, he truly believed she was the one.

They had an extended honeymoon phase after filming wrapped in November until early February, when photos of Rachael Kirkconnel attending an antebellum-themed party resurfaced.

The pictures were from 2018 when Kirkconnel was at Georgia College & State University in the Alpha Delta Pi sorority.

The photos caused rocky waters in the relationship of James and Kirkconnel and led to James believing Kirkconnel was racially insensitive and that she would not be his other half in the long run.

Amid the controversy, Bachelor franchise host Chris Harrison took a stand in an interview with the First Black Bachelorette in the history of the franchise, Rachel Lindsay. In the interview, he declared what Kirkconnel did three years prior should not reflect who she is today and that America shouldn’t judge her actions until Kirkconnel can explain herself. 

Harrison later apologized for his statement and choice to step down from hosting the After the Final Rose special, so he could take some time to educate himself on the subject matter. 

Popular YouTube star, and host of “Conversations with a Black Man,” Emmanuel Acho, stood in Chris Harrison’s place for the special. 

Typically, the special is used to get caught up on the lives of the Bachelor/Bachelorette since filming wrapped.

 This year, Acho facilitated uncomfortable conversations surrounding the controversy of Kirkconnel’s antebellum photos.

Acho was able to hear Matt James’s opinion on the matter and why photos from three years ago led to their breakup.

James explained that Kirkconnel didn’t understand what it would be like for their kids to grow up in a Biracial household, and therefore, love could not conquer all.

James shot down any hope of reconciliation with Kirkconnel when he declared that she needs to do the work, and he cannot help educate her on what it is like to be Black in America.

Bachelor Nation was thrown a curveball at the end of the After the Final Rose special when it was declared to America that there would be two bachelorettes this year, but that they would each get their own individual season. 

The two lucky ladies are Katie Thurston, whose season will air this summer, and fan-favorite Michelle Young, whose season will air this fall. 

Bachelor producers have removed Chris Harrison from the equation for Katie Thurston’s upcoming season of the Bachelorette.

Instead, former bachelorettes Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams will co-host Thurston’s season. 

Harrison has been a staple of the franchise for the last 19 years; a season without him will look quite different. Harrison will continue to fight to earn himself back into Bachelor Nation’s good graces; he just hired celebrity attorney Bryan Freedman to help him navigate the rough waters. Harrison will hopefully return as host for Michelle Young’s season of the Bachelorette to air this fall.