Matt James’s season of The Bachelor went from cute to controversial pretty much in the blink of an eye. After multiple allegations about contestant Rachael Kirkconnell attending a Old South-themed antebellum party surfaced online—as well as claims that she bullied people in high school for liking Black men, the irony—the show and its corresponding fandom was shaken to its core.
Between that cringe-y Chris Harrison interview (below), Rachael’s apology (below), and the contestants from Matt’s season forming a pact (also below!), this drama is a lot to process. To ease the headache, please use this timeline as a guide to find all the major events that have occurred within this controversy. Fasten your seatbelts—it’s a wild one.
January 4, 2021 — Season 25 of The Bachelor premieres.
Following the premiere of Matt’s season, TikTok user @maddyybierster (who allegedly went to high school with Rachael and was classmates with her) posts a video on the app and accuses Rachael of teasing her in the past for liking Black men. “Girlieee, remember when you bullied me in high school for liking black guys???” the video reads, which shows footage of Rachael and Matt chatting with each other on night one.
BECAUSE I REMEMBER #BACHELO #bachelornationabc #BachelorReady #bachelor #bachelorgr #mattjames #fyp
The video naturally goes viral, and Maddy is messaged by other people claiming they also experienced racist behaviors and bullying from Rachael either in high school or college.
please read each and every one 🙂 #bachelornationabc #BachelorReady #bachelor #fyp #IsThisAvailable
January 26, 2021 — A TikTok user does a deep dive into Rachael’s social media accounts.
The allegations against Rachael doesn’t stop at the bullying—TikTok user @feministmama comes through with receipts of Rachael’s concerning social media activity. In the video, screenshots show Rachael engaging in cultural appropriation in photos, liking posts of her Trump-supporting friends wearing MAGA hats, sharing dangerous QAnon theories to her accounts, and more.
Reply to @lovelams #thebachelor
February 2, 2021 — Matt addresses the allegations against Rachael…kinda.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Matt says, “I have not spoken to anybody since the show ended, but I would say that you have to be really careful about what you are doing on social media. Rumors are dark and nasty and can ruin people’s lives. So I would give people the benefit of the doubt, and hopefully she [Rachael] will have her time to speak on that.”
Matt keeps things very vague, and adds, “There’s a lot of stuff going around about the women that were involved in the show. I would just give them a chance to kind of have their piece, whether that is someone who was gone night one or someone who went home last night. Everyone has a story, and I would just be receptive to that.”
February 4, 2021 — Pictures of Rachael at an Old South, antebellum-themed party emerge.
Spoiler alert: The pictures are pretty bad.
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