A group of black former contestants on the ABC reality show The Bachelor gathered to call for the permanent removal of the show’s longtime host Chris Harrison after he defended a contestant who attended a antebellum-style ball.
Harrison temporarily “stepped aside” last week after he was called “racist” for coming to the support of a contestant who once participated in a sorority event featuring antebellum-style ball gowns.
After Harrison defended contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, he apologized for supporting her and then said he was stepping aside from the show. But his temporary action is not enough for some former members of the show.
DeMario Jackson from season 13 and Jubilee Sharpe from season 20 came out to lambast Harrison and advocated for his firing from the show.
“I don’t really think he should be allowed to return but it’s not up to me,” Jackson said, according to the Daily Mail. “My season was one of the most visible black seasons as far as the representation by African American males and women.”
“It just sucked because, yeah, we had each other, but there was nobody we could really relate to because it was an all-white production, all-white cast, all-white show, which is great, but it’s 2021 now,” he insisted. “If they do want to have [SIC] move forward and have a more black fan base, I would say it all starts within. Like do you really want to have black fans, or do you want to put a Band-Aid over a bullet wound?”
Others also chimed in on the controversy.
The male constants from Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams’ season of The Bachelorette issued a joint statement. Crawley is Latina, and Adams was the franchise’s first black and Latina star. “We had the opportunity to be a part of one of the most diverse casts in the history of the franchise,” the statement reads.
“We stand united in denouncing any racist behavior and any defense thereof. We also stand united with the women of Season 25 of The Bachelor, who have denounced the same; moreover, we stand united with Rachel Lindsay, who has led the way,” they said.
For her part, Tayshia Adams posted a video to social media, saying, “I am really hurt and disappointed and confused at the ignorance when it comes to race.”
“The things that have come to light within The Bachelor franchise this past week have just been eye-opening,” Adams exclaimed. “And I want to talk about the interview that was had between Rachel Lindsay and Chris Harrison regarding some of the actions from a current contestant, Rachael Kirkconnell.”
“The photo that she was in is racist. The party that she attended: racist. Her actions have been racist. When there are blatant forms of racist acts, you cannot be defensive of it,” Adams accused. “It speaks volumes. And I just have to say, I am really hurt by this response.”
The photo in question depicts Kirkconnell participating in a college Antebellum formal dance that occurred several years ago. Antebellum formals include the female participants dressing up in Southern Belle-style ball gowns. Such events have been conducted across the South for decades, and scores of young college students have participated in them. But leftists have labeled these dances “racist” because they emulate the dress fashion that evokes traditional, pre-Civil War era plantation gowns.
Kirkconnell has apologized for having attended the event. However, she is still in the running during the current season and just received a rose this week from Bachelor Matt James, who is black, placing her among the final four contestants for the season.
James has acknowledged the controversy swirling around the photo but has warned people not to rush to judgment.
“‘I would just warn people to be careful about making accusations before someone’s had a chance to speak on it,” James said during an interview on Feb. 2. “Rumors are dark, and they’re nasty, and they can ruin people’s lives, so… I would give people the benefit of the doubt, and hopefully, she’ll have her time to speak on that.”
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