Gabby Windey's final suitor said he's 'deeply ashamed' by the photo from high school.
Erich Schwer has issued an apology. After an old photo of Gabby Windey's final Bachelorette suitor in Blackface resurfaced, the 29-year-old real estate analyst took to Instagram to address the controversy.
"I wholeheartedly apologize for the insensitive photo of me in Blackface from my high school yearbook that has been circulating," Erich wrote alongside a black square on Instagram. "What I thought at the time was a representation of my love for Jimi Hendrix, was nothing but ignorance."
"I was naïve to the hurtful implications of my actions to the Black community and those closest to me, and will forever regret my offensive and damaging behavior," he added. "I am deeply ashamed by my actions and understand that my apology is only the first step in taking accountability."
Nate Mitchell, a Black Bachelorette contestant who also vied for Gabby's heart, weighed in on the situation and Erich's apology in the comment section.
"Appreciate you taking ownership bro, I can’t absolve you of this but I can attest to the man I’ve met and you have been nothing less than someone who I’d consider a friend," Nate wrote. "You aren’t the first person I’ve befriended with a similar past and the difference is not having an attitude of willful ignorance."
"Your school accepting this behavior and posting this to a year book tells me that no peers or faculty around you spoke out to guide you away from this issue," he added. "Kids do fall victim to their environments time and time again. Continue to grow and learn from your past and I’ll continue to support you and provide advice should you need/ask for it."
ABC and Warner Bros. are not commenting on Erich's past photo or Instagram post.
The situation comes ahead of the two-part finale of The Bachelorette. This season, Gabby has been searching for love alongside Rachel Recchia.
In anticipation of the season finale, host Jesse Palmer told fans that there will be "crazy controversy" during the final episodes. A preview of the final two episodes teased as much, as it showed both Gabby and Rachel breaking down in tears.