The Bachelorette contestant became a big frontrunner in both Becca Kufrin and America's hearts after his adorable minivan exit on Monday night's premiere, but was quickly enveloped in controversy for allegedly liking Instagram posts which mock transgender people, feminists, immigrants and Parkland shooting survivors.
He deleted his Instagram account after screenshots of the post made their way around several blogs this week, and now he's returned to Instagram, on a new account, to apologize. ABC confirms to ET that it is Garrett running this new account.
"To those who I have hurt and offended: This is all new to me. I went on The Bachelorette for the adventure and possibility of falling in love, not fame. I did not know what to expect once the show aired," he began.
"I am sorry to those who I offended, and I also take full responsibility for my 'likes' on Instagram that were hurtful and offensive. garrett_yrigs12 was my former Instagram handle and I decided to take it down and start fresh because I have learned an extremely valuable lesson and am taking steps to grow, become more educated, and be a better version of myself," Garrett wrote. "I am not perfect, and I will never be anywhere close, but now I will always be more informed and aware of what I am liking and supporting, not just on Instagram, but in life."
The Reno, Nevada, native went on to share that he "never realized" the power of his Instagram likes, and insist they are not "a true reflection of me and my morals." He called himself "open-minded and non-judgemental" and encouraged his mistakes to be a lesson to others.
Read his full statement below:
In an interview with ET on Wednesday, Becca opened up about the controversy, defending the man who won her first impression rose. "
"I did things in the past that I'm sure wasn't the best thing, but I just want people to stay open-minded to everyone," she said.
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"I can't fault on anyone for what they believe and who's to say that anyone is truly what they believe in if they just double tap," Becca reasoned. "I can't speak to that because that's just not me. I am a strong woman and I do believe in certain things, but again, that's what's so great about our country -- everyone is entitled to their own opinions."
And ABC's Senior Vice President of Alternative Series, Specials & Late-Night Programming, Robert Mills, told ET that the Bachelor franchise casting team was "working harder" to better vet contestants. "I mean, it is such a new frontier, social media, and I think it's important for us to really be on top of this stuff, and certainly we never want a situation like what happened last year with Lee [Garrett] to ever happen again."