- Rachel Lindsay told Insider “The Bachelor” needs to hire Redditors to do its background checks.
- The show has come under fire once again for contestants’ problematic social-media activity.
- Photos emerged of current front-runner Rachael Kirkconnell at a plantation-themed party in 2018.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
“The Bachelorette” star Rachel Lindsay is calling out the franchise after “The Bachelor” found itself in the headlines once again for contestants’ social-media activity.
Photos recently emerged of Rachael Kirkconnell, a front-runner on Matt James’ current season, at an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018. Her cousin Anastasia confirmed to The Sun that the photos are authentic and said they were “hard to defend.”
Just a few weeks prior, former “Bachelorette” contestant James Taylor revealed he had been at the Capitol riots â€” and claimed the show’s producers had supported him (which a source close to ABC denied to Insider).
“I don’t understand why Reddit can figure it out but the show can’t,” Lindsay told Insider while promoting new episodes of her MTV show “Ghosted.”
“The show has somebody doing background checks. They need to hire whoever is figuring out the information from Reddit, because they’re the ones who have their ears to the streets and are getting this done,” she added.
Kirkconnell and ABC did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
Matt James defended Rachael Kirkconnell
Us Weekly reported that Kirkconnell first made headlines in January, when a TikTok user accused the “Bachelor” contestant of bullying her for dating Black men. Another TikTok user then accused the 24-year-old of liking racist photos.
Kirkconnell has yet to comment on the allegations. “Bachelor” contestants generally don’t give interviews while they’re still appearing on the season to avoid any potential for spoilers. But last week, James himself released a rare statement addressing what was being reported about Kirkconnell.
“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,” James told Entertainment Tonight. “Rumours 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.”
“There’s a lot of stuff going around about the women that were involved in the show,” he added. “I would just give them a chance to kind of have 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.”
James’ statement was released before the photos emerged on Twitter of Kirkconnell wearing an antebellum plantation dress while she was a student at Georgia College & State University.
Former “Bachelor” star Olivia Caridi, who appeared on Ben Higgins’ season in 2016, called the pictures “downright vile.”
This is downright vile and LOL at all the people excusing this because it is “common”
— Olivia Caridi (@OliviaCaridi) February 5, 2021
Fellow “Bachelor” alum Ashley Spivey, who appeared on Brad Womack’s season in 2011, also condemned the photo and said it was sad to see Kirkconnell’s past dominate the news of James’ historic season as the first Black “Bachelor” lead.
The first black bachelor’s season has already been torpedoed by white women attacking WOC in the house and now Rachael’s racism will be the dominant story going forward. It’s almost like they never truly cared about the historic nature of this season ????
— Ashley Spivey (@AshleySpivey) February 5, 2021
Other ‘Bachelor’ contestants have come under fire for problematic social-media activity
On Lindsay’s season â€” which was also historic, as she was the first Black lead in the franchise â€” it was revealed that one of her contestants had a history of racist tweets.
Last year, during Peter Weber’s season of “The Bachelor,” Cosmopolitan magazine pulled a digital cover for contestant Victoria Fuller after it was revealed she previously did a photo shoot in support of “White Lives Matter.”
And before her season of “The Bachelorette” even aired in May 2018, Becca Kufrin’s winner and now-former fiancÃ© Garrett Yrigoyen made headlines after it was revealed he had liked Instagram posts that mocked transgender people, immigrant children, and a school shooting victim.
“When Garrett was exposed, that came from Reddit,” Lindsay told Insider. “So many people send me stuff from Reddit all the time. I’m getting stuff currently from people on Matt James’ season now and I hope it’s not what I think it is, but if it is I’m going to be mad because why is Reddit figuring out what the show can’t?”
“It’s extremely frustrating when you see somebody slip through the cracks, and it does a disservice to the lead who has no idea, because what if they pick that problematic person? It’s been done before,” she added. “So I just think they need to tighten it up. Forget having a necessarily good storyline, tighten up who you’re choosing on the show because these are the people who are going out and representing the show.”
Lindsay has called out the show’s screening process before
The former “Bachelorette” lead criticised the show’s screening process when it was reported that contestant James Taylor had attended the Capitol riots.
Taylor, who appeared on JoJo Fletcher’s season of “The Bachelorette” in 2016, claimed that the “Bachelor” family “had his back,” even tweeting that “conservative producers are the best!”
“Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss replied to Taylor’s claims, referring to him as the “idiot jerk off that went to Trump’s treasonous rally” and saying he was “exiled” from Bachelor Nation. Lindsay then responded to Fleiss’ tweet, saying that Taylor was another reason why the show needs “to do better with casting.”
Reason #4853569536 we have to do better with casting https://t.co/xuTZs45a4h
— Rachel Lindsay (@TheRachLindsay) January 13, 2021
Fletcher and her fiancÃ© Jordan Rodgers told Insider that they both went through extensive background checks before joining the franchise.
“You meet with a private investigator,” Rodgers said. “I remember sitting down with a private investigator, they go through your whole background, they do an extensive background search on you.”
Fletcher said she agreed that there could “always be more extensive questioning, digging, and investigating” on the show, but that she believes the contestants’ “true colours always come out” in the end.
“People can very easily portray themselves in any light that they want, to serve whatever purpose,” she said. “There’s people like that on every season where you end up being surprised by who they actually are. I think people will always surprise you, and I don’t know if there’s a way to catch that.”
- Read more:
- Rachel Lindsay calls out ‘The Bachelor’ after its controversial boxing date
- Ben Higgins says the ‘Bachelorette’ contestant who attended the Capitol riots is lying about the show supporting him, and reveals why he’s no longer a Republican
- Becca Kufrin reveals if she was ‘The Bachelorette’ again she would have immediately asked her men who they voted for in the election
- Rachel Lindsay calls out ‘The Bachelor’ for promoting ‘Queen Victoria’ as the show is slammed by bullying claims