'Bachelorette' Season 16 Contestants Unite to Denounce Racist Behavior and 'Any Defense Thereof'
By Desiree Murphy
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The men from Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams' season of The Bachelorette are speaking out.
In a group statement shared to the cast's individual Instagram accounts on Friday, the men unitedly stated that they denounce "racist behavior and any defense thereof." The message was released after comments made by Bachelor host Chris Harrison on Tuesday during an interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay sparked controversy. ET has reached out to Warner Bros. and ABC for comment.
"As members of season 16 of The Bachelorette, it is important that we acknowledge where stand at this time," the statement reads. "We had the opportunity to be a part of one of the most diverse casts in the history of the franchise. The addition of more people who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) has opened up the conversation on race, community, and who we are as people. A conversation that has been long overdue."
"We stand united in denouncing racist behavior and any defense thereof. We also stand united with the women of Season 25 of The Bachelor, who have denounced the same," the statement continues. "Moreover, we stand united with Rachel Lindsay, who has led the way."
Ivan B. Hall was one of the first to share the statement on Friday, adding in the caption, "We have a new wave of cast members coming through folks and I’m loving it."
"Special thanks to @therachlindsay and @taymocha for holding it down," he wrote. "I hope it brings some relief that myself and others are with you and we can move forward together. Additional thanks to all of the white allies out there (especially @ashleyspivey)."
The message comes just one day after the women of Matt James' season of The Bachelor shared a united message of their own.
"We are the women of Bachelor season 25. Twenty-five women who identify as BIPOC were cast on this historic season that was meant to represent change," the statement read. "We are deeply disappointed and want to make it clear that we denounce any defense of racism. Any defense of racist behavior denies the lived and continued experiences of BIPOC individuals. These experiences are not to be exploited or tokenized."
"Rachel Lindsay continues to advocate with 'grace' for individuals who identify as BIPOC within this franchise. Just because she is speaking the loudest, doesn't mean she is alone," they added. "We stand with her, we hear her, and we advocate for change alongside her."
Harrison later apologized on Instagram for "wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism" during the interview. Kirkconnell also issued an apology on Thursday for her "offensive and racist" actions, and reposted the letter from her co-stars on her Instagram Story.