After Chris Harrison defended Rachael Kirkconnell’s racist past, the Women of Season 25 issued a joint statement denouncing racism.

After a moment of considering racism in the franchise, the women in Matt James’ season The Bachelor they are taking a stand. The cast released a joint statement Thursday night denouncing racism and supporting former single Rachel Lindsay.

Season 25 of The Bachelor, which features its first black male lead in Matt James, also features the most racially diverse group of contestants in the show’s history. However, this historic season has also been fraught with controversy, most notably the revelations that favorite contestant Rachael Kirkconnell had engaged in racist actions in the recent past. Photos surfaced of Kirkconnell attending a college plantation dance, an event celebrating the culture of the pre-war South.

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Amid outrage from Bachelor Nation fans and former contestants alike, the Women of Season 25 issued a joint statement on his personal Instagram pages Thursday night. “We are deeply disappointed and want to make it clear that we denounce any defense of racism.” The statement read, which appeared to refer to the defense of Kirkconnell host Chris Harrison. The statement also came in support of Rachel Lindsay, who conducted the interview with Chris Harrison during which she defended Kirkconnell. “Just because [Lindsay] she’s speaking louder, it doesn’t mean she’s alone ” the statement said. The women also acknowledged the racism that BIPOC contestants have faced during their time on the show and stated that their “Experiences must not be exploited or tokenized.” Katie Thurston, who is rumored to be the next bachelorette party, posted the statement on her main grid on Instagram. Even Kirkconnell herself posted the statement on her Instagram story, just hours after she posted her own apology for her past racist actions.

The cast’s posts come just one day after Chris Harrison’s disastrous appearance on Rachel Lindsay’s show on Extra. Harrison, who has hosted all of the franchise’s shows and spin-offs since the first season in 2002, defended Kirkconnell’s racist actions and called on fans who were trying to hold Kirkconnell accountable to extend it instead. “Grace.” Harrison also took a dismissive tone towards Lindsay, who served as the franchise’s first Black Bachelorette. Fans started a petition to remove Harrison as the host of the show.

James’s season of The Bachelor it is about the middle of its season. Kirkconnell is suspected of being one of the finalists, a rumor that Harrison himself confirmed by mentioning that she had not attended the Women Tell All taping. (Historically, finalists do not usually attend Women Tell All to avoid spoilers.) In addition to his apology on Instagram, Kirkconnell may need to address his racist actions on the After the Final Rose special. Bachelor Nation and her co-stars will no doubt hold her accountable.

Next: Single: Onyeka And Khaylah Shout Chris Harrison’s ‘Double Standard’ Grace Towards Rachael

Source: @chelseavaughn_

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