After weeks of controversy, Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell has released a statement apologizing for images that have surfaced of her attending a plantation-themed party, donning insensitive Halloween costumes, and “liking” offensive social media posts—including one in which two people are posed in front of a Confederate flag. And in a surprising, unprecedented move, the season’s entire cast has posted a shared statement to their social media denouncing racism.
“While there have been rumors circulating, there have also been truths that have come to light that I need to address,” Kirkconnell wrote in a statement Thursday night. “At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them. My age or when it happened does not excuse anything. They are not acceptable or okay in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.”
“I am sorry to the communities and individuals that my actions harmed and offended,” Kirkconnell continued. “I am ashamed about my lack of education, but it’s no one’s responsibility to educate me. I am learning and will continue to learn how to be antiracist, because it’s important to speak up in the moment and not after you’re called out. If you are a person who doesn’t understand the offense in question, I urge you to learn from my mistakes and encourage you to use them as a teachable moment.”
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