The Bachelorette star Hannah Brown and former Bachelor Ben Higgins’ fiancee Jessica Clarke have found themselves drawn into the franchise’s racism scandal after photos emerged of them wearing ‘Southern Belle’ costumes.
The new controversy emerged just days after Hannah spoke out about Chris Harrison and the comments he made during an interview with former Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay.
Rachel previously called out ABC producers for not doing enough vetting when looking at contestants before casting them on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, and now various allegations are surfacing online about contestants.
Last week, current Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell was caught out for ‘liking’ controversial photos, while it also emerged she attended a plantation-themed party back in 2018 and posed for pictures.
Now Hannah Brown and Jessica Clarke are also being questioned over historic photos.
Hannah Brown speaks out about the scandal
Last week, Hannah Brown took to social media to speak out about the controversy surrounding Chris Harrison’s comments.
She said on her Instagram Stories, “Hey yall, I’ve been catching up and reading about everything that’s been going on in Bachelor Nation and Lord knows I’ve made mistakes.
“But I have learned this past year if we want to move forward, we have to confront where we have fallen short. And it’s so important that we lift up and listen and value and encourage under represented voices.”
Hannah finished by saying, “We just have to be better and while being accountable has helped me evolve so much, and I’m still not a perfect person but I do remain committed to the work. And I’m so humbled and truly grateful to be on this journey and could only hope that I encourage others to go on the journey as well.”
However, a photo then emerged of her wearing a Southern Belle costume at a 2013 event for the Tuscaloosa Belles, an organization that aims to help women get involved in their communities.
A separate picture also came to light showing Jessica Clarke, who is curently engaged to Ben Higgins, wearing what appeared to be a Southern Belle costume.
Both photos were shared online alongside accusations that the pair had been photographed at “antebellum plantation-themed events”.
Hannah has since faced claims that she deleted the Tuscaloosa Belles photo from her Instagram account around the same time she posted her response to the Chris Harrison scandal.
When asked about that on a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” thread on Monday, Rachel Lindsay said, “Wait seriously? This is why actions speak louder than words. This is why we have uncomfortable conversations and this could have really been a big teaching moment. We can’t continue on a path of pretending things did not happen or running away from them. We do not ‘learn and grow’ from that.”
Hannah Brown had previous Bachelorette racism scandal
This isn’t the first time that Hannah has been caught up in a racism controversy. Back in May 2020, she was on Instagram Live, singing and dancing with her brother, when she uttered the N-word.
She was supposedly drunk at the time and while she didn’t take it back right away, she realized the next morning that people were furious.
She took a few days to put together an apology saying she realized she needed to do more work on herself.
At the time, Bachelor fans were convinced that both Hannah and her brother were racist after they did some digging and saw that her brother had used the word on Twitter before.
However, after Hannah promised to put in work to better herself, Bachelor Nation seemingly forgave her.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.