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Rachael Kirkconnell Suggests Producers Didn’t Want Her and Matt James Together and More Rare Quotes About ‘The Bachelor’

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Nearly two years after Rachael Kirkconnell met Matt James on season 25 of The Bachelor, she’s started to open up about her experience and the controversy that plagued their relationship.While the 2021 season of the ABC series was airing, the Georgia native came under fire for resurfaced photos in an antebellum-style dress at a fraternity getaway.

Before Kirkconnell addressed the pics, then-host Chris Harrison came to her defense during an interview with alum Rachel Lindsay, asking the audience to have “grace” for the contestant, who he knew ended up winning the season. (The scandal broke in February 2021, one month before the finale aired.)The situation resulted in James breaking up with Kirkconnell ahead of the After the Final Rose special that March.

While the twosome reconciled later that year, the network cut ties with Harrison and alum Jesse Palmer took over the gig.Kirkconnell released her first statement on February 11, 2021, writing via Instagram that her actions were “not acceptable” and her “ignorance was racist.” During a candid conversation with fellow season 25 star Bri Springs, who finished as the second runner-up on James’ season, in October 2022, Kirkconnell said her initial apology “backfired.”“I was pushed to write a written statement and not speak to my followers, like, with my face and whatnot … by the show and by producers. … They were, like, ‘You could just, like, look in the corner, and people will look too far into it. … It’s easier to write a written statement,’” she said on the “Ya, But Who Cares” podcast. “I feel like that kind of backfired.

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