Past Bachelorettes Becca Kufrin and Tayshia Adams hosted the episode, and Tayshia opened their chat with Justin by addressing his tweets head-on, noting that his past posts were "kind of bashing the LGBT community and just not great things." The tweets, which according to Peoplealso included Justin promoting colorism and making insulting comments about Black women, surfaced on Reddit over the weekend.
Justin began his response by revealing that, by being on The Bachelorette, he's learned how "to hold myself accountable, which is something that historically I wasn't able to do."
"I have no issue with owning up and apologizing from the bottom of my heart for the really hurtful words that I used back in 2009 and 2011," Justin said. "The last thing that I want to do is run from it. That's not who I am. I just want to kind of speak from the heart, and hopefully, people will kind of get an understanding of where I was then versus where I am now."
Looking back at his teenage self, Justin noted that he "was the type of person who for whatever reason felt the need to fit in and say funny things and kind of keep up with what my peers were doing and saying, to get a laugh [or] for whatever reason."
"The folks I had associated with would throw around really hurtful slurs that, at the time, I didn't really think anything of," he admitted.
Though the tweets are more than a decade old, Justin said, "The last thing that I want is for people to defend me, and say, 'Oh, it was 10, 12 years ago.'"
"What I said was ignorant and hurtful then, it's ignorant and hurtful now," he said. "I don't care if it's five, 10, 15, 20 years ago. No matter how long it was, those words shouldn't have come out of my mouth."
The investment sales consultant said he's "obviously in a much different place now, over a decade later as a 27-year-old and I can look back and obviously be embarrassed and ashamed of the words that I used."
"In any context, they shouldn't of come out of my mouth or [been posted] on Twitter. They're hurtful. Over those years, I know as I've matured and evolved and grown as a person, I'm a totally different version of Justin than I was," he said. "I know those words would never come out of my mouth, because I know the weight that they carry, no matter what context they're used in. I understand how much allyship and support those groups that I offended need."
In the years since his tweets, Justin said he's worked with "several community organizations that are allies for LGBTQ communities, diversity and inclusion, advocation for women in the workplace."
"This is kind of a wake-up call to let me know that I need to continue to put that work in and continue to devote my time to these groups that need allyship and they need the support," Justin said. "Words can be hurtful. Unfortunately, I think 12 years ago or whenever it was, my underdeveloped brain wasn't thinking, 'How can these words hurt people later on in life if they were to ever resurface?'"
"Like I said, I'm not making any excuses. I need to be fully held accountable for my actions and my words. I fully understand that," he continued. "I just want people to know that, 14-year-old Justin, I've changed immensely since then and I'm fully aware of the weight that my words carry and that we all need to continue to put in work."
As for if he was worried these tweets would surface when he began appearing on The Bachelorette, Justin said that, while he did look through all his social media platforms after he was cast, "it didn't dawn" on him to do a deep dive into his Twitter account, as he "hadn't been a heavy Twitter user."
"Maybe I was giving myself too much credit, because I know the type of person I am now, and I would never utter those words," he said. "... It didn't cross my mind to think, 'Hey Justin, you were an immature, insensitive teenager at one point in your life, go back and make sure that that aligns with the person that you are today.' It's something I should've done."
Going forward, Justin said he's committed to lifting up marginalized communities, both by calling out people who do otherwise and supporting important organizations.
"Aside from wanting to hold myself accountable, it truly hurts me that I've hurt these communities... There are so many instances where I'm around people who can be so insensitive, and I consciously try to call those people out," he said. "... Everyone should be loved and treated with equality and I firmly believe that."
"Again, from the bottom of my heart, I'm truly remorseful for the words I used," Justin continued. "I can assure everyone... that I hear you, I see you, and I'm going to devote my time and energy to standing up for what's right."