Monday night was the finale of this year’s highly controversial season of The Bachelor on ABC, and Black Twitter shared its thoughts aplenty over the winner’s racist past.
After 24 seasons of white leads, many Bachelor fans were excited when ABC announced Matt James was cast as its first Black focus of attention for Season 25. Shortly after it began airing, however, the racist past of one of the contestants resurfaced online, bringing a big controversy to what was should have been a landmark season for the franchise.
As theGrio previously reported, contestant Rachael Kirkconnell became the center of the drama, as she reportedly “liked pictures with the Confederate Flag in them and attended a plantation-themed formal in 2018.”
The drama continued to snowball as The Bachelor host Chris Harrison got into hot water for defending Kirkconnell to former Bachelor and Bachelorette figure Rachael Lindsay. Harrison eventually took a step back from the franchise, with Emmanuel Acho stepping in to host last night’s After the Final Rose special.
In last night’s finale, fans watched as James picked his winner for the season, who turned out to be none other than Kirkconnell herself. While it showed the happy couple seemingly riding off into their ever-after, the After the Final Rose special quickly brought things down to earth.
In a conversation with Acho, James revealed that while he remained with Kirkconnell as the season began, he eventually broke up with her once her scandal was brought to light.
“You want to believe that you know your person better than anyone else knows your person,” James told Acho. “I tried to be there for her … I dismissed them as rumors because that’s what I hoped they would be.”
While Kirkconnell explained she was “devastated” and is “doing the work” to unlearn and educate herself, Black Twitter had plenty to say about the dramatic finale.
Many fans were proud of James for protecting his peace and not coddling Kirkconnell regarding her controversial past. One person wrote on Twitter: “Do you know how powerful and freeing, as a BIPOC, to say ‘I won’t be responsible for your growth’ to someone who is white?? I’m so proud of Matt for that #TheBachelor #ATFR.” Another user seemingly agreed, writing: “‘I don’t wanna be emotionally responsible for those tears.’” #TheBachelor,” along with a gif of Jay-Z clapping.
Others were not impressed with the finale overall. One tweeted: “This entire season could’ve been an email bye,” seemingly referencing that the Kirkconnell drama became news almost as soon as the season started.
Many fans were also over The Bachelor period and were just excited with the announcement of the next two seasons of The Bachelorette. At the end of the special, Acho gave word that unlike tradition, there will be two consecutive seasons of The Bachelorette airing next on ABC, with one of them being Michelle Young, the Black contestant who James sent home in the show’s final hour Monday night.
One Twitter user referred to Young as “the real winner tonight,” posting a stunning picture of the Bachelor contestant. Many also started sharing pictures of all three Black Bachelorettes the franchise has had so far: Lindsay, Tayshia Adams and, now, Young. One fan wrote: “I’d love to have a wine night with these beautiful women.”
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