Kaitlyn Bristowe, Mike Johnson & More 'Bachelor' Alums on Chris Harrison's Defense of Rachael Kirkconnell

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Bachelor Nation is weighing in on Chris Harrison's defense of Rachael Kirkconnell's racist behavior. Kaitlyn Bristowe, Mike Johnson and more Bachelor alums have spoken out on social media condemning Harrison's comments during his Tuesday interview with Rachel Lindsay. (Harrison has since apologized, as has Kirkconnell, for her "offensive and racist" actions.) 

Just after Matt James' Bachelor premiere last month, a TikTok user accused Kirkconnell -- an early front runner on the show -- of bullying her in the past for dating Black men. Last week, another user accused Kirkconnell of liking racist photos. Pics have also surfaced of Kirkconnell at an Old South plantation-themed party while in college. 

In a statement on Instagram on Thursday, Kirkconnell apologized, and said she hoped to "earn your forgiveness through my future actions."

That apology came one day after Harrison issued his own statement, apologizing for "wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism" by defending Kirkconnell's racist actions and asking people to offer her "grace." Many fans continued to speak out against him, with Bachelor alums sharing their thoughts. 

"I am extremely disappointed in Chris," Bristowe said on Instagram Live on Thursday. "He is a dear, dear friend. I don't like the cancel culture -- 'Let's fire him, hate him, f**k him' ... I think we should and we have been holding him accountable. I think he for sure needs to do more than put out a statement. I am really, really disappointed. I stand with Rachel Lindsay. She has been taking so much of the weight herself and I just -- I don't know how she's doing it, to be honest." 

Bristowe continued, praising Lindsay for her composure and grace during the interview, which she said was "really shocking to me." 

Johnson spoke out before and after Harrison's Wednesday evening apology. In his post on Thursday, the Bachelorette alum wrote, "When we give mercy, grace and compassion to those whose actions caused hurt, but not to the hurt ones who cannot stay silent, it fuels the anger that divides us." 

"Always stand for what’s right. 1968, 2018, 2020, 2021 - for every year hurt was caused, we shine the light. Call it ‘woke police’ or call it accountability. The choice is yours," he continued. "Accountability is tough love, but love nonetheless. Speak for your fellow humans."

Jubilee Sharpe, who appeared on Ben Higgins' season of The Bachelor, wrote on Twitter, "Wish I could say this Chris Harrison interview and him defending racist behavior was shocking...but it’s not. Thank God he’s retiring.🤷‍♀️."

"Chris Harrison said we shouldn't judge her for going to a plantation themed party because 'we weren't as woke back then as we are now.' Pic is from 2018," wrote Diggy Moreland, who appeared on Lindsay's season of The Bachelorette. "I graduated in 2009. If I found out one of my friends went to a party like that, I'm slapping the sh*t out of them on sight."

"Aye Chris: Do you know how many different types of parties there are to have in college? Tons. Choosing to have a party theme that apparently was banned by the University/Sorority is a choice. Not to mention the human decency of not having a party centered around slavery," he added. 

Nick Viall added on his Instagram Story, "After seeing Chris's very disappointing and harmful interview with Rachel, I have spent the past two days speaking with many people from Bachelor Nation including those involved. This is a teachable moment for us all. It can be uncomfortable to recognize our own ignorance, but without recognition there can not be accountability and growth." 

He continued, "I believe my friend Chris can learn from it and be better for it. Rachel, thank you for your voice, grace and most of all friendship." 

Nick Viall Instagram
Instagram

Khaylah Epps, who was a contestant on the current season of The Bachelor, tweeted, "Yesterday was incredibly upsetting. To see someone do straight up gymnastics to try and excuse racist behavior is inexcusable and a direct slap in the face."

"And just on some personal sh*t, the way I would be portrayed on tv ATE. ME. ALIVE for weeks after I went home bc I know 'grace' is never extended to black women. So to see who is deserving of 'grace' and who isn’t? K," she added. 

She also posted a message shared by the Bachelor season 25 cast -- including Kirkconnell -- denouncing "any defense of racist behavior." 

Bachelor alums Bekah Martinez and Kendall Long also spoke out against Harrison's comments on Instagram, while many other members of Bachelor Nation directed fans to Taylor Nolan's posts. 

"Just because YOU didn't think it was racism before 2020 DOES NOT mean that it wasn't," she shared, in part. 

Others expressed their condemnation of Harrison's interview through likes on social media. 

In his statement on Tuesday, Harrison also apologized to "my friend Rachel Lindsay for not listening to her better on a topic she has a first-hand understanding of."

"[I] humbly thank the members of Bachelor Nation who have reached out to me to hold me accountable," he concluded. "I promise to do better."

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