Matt James has explained why he decided to give his Bachelor leading lady Rachael Kirkconnell another chance.
In an new interview with The Wall Street Journal, Matt shared the reasons behind his decision.
Matt told the publication he believed it to be “unfair” to completely abort his feelings for Rachael as she continues to try and grow, learn and “be better.”
The couple who formed a deep connection on the ABC reality dating series throughout Season 25, announced that they had broken up during the After the Final Rose reunion special.
This was due to the unearthing of a racially insensitive event that Rachael had participated in while a student in college. Matt could not get past the imagery of his ladylove dressed in antebellum-styled clothing, even though she had apologized for her past behavior online and in person.
“It’s on people who care about being allies to do the work to be truly antiracist and I think it’s unfair to leave people without the ability to unlearn and be better,” he said.
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Matt said he and Rachael are working together as a unit
Matt said that the couple is moving forward together and working on their relationship as a unit.
“We can have critical conversations about being in this relationship and what I need in a partner — especially if that woman isn’t Black — to understand what comes with me and my life and being Black,” he said in the interview.
Matt also addressed his feelings regarding the franchise growing and changing moving forward when it comes to the topic of race.
“If you have different people of color all across the board, it’s going to help you tell a story that’s more representative,” Matt shared.
Rachael has reportedly continued to do the work needed to understand her former actions
Rachael spoke of the photos in a lengthy Instagram slide where she attempted to explain the situation with her followers.
“I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them,” she wrote in a statement. “My age or when it happened does not excuse anything. They are not acceptable or okay in any sense. I was ignorant but my ignorance was racist,” she penned on Instagram.
Matt addressed the images in a February Instagram post as well as the subsequent controversy that swirled around the show after Bachelor host Chris Harrison appeared to defend Rachael’s actions.
“This moment has sparked critical conversations and reporting, raised important questions, and resulted in inspiring displays of solidarity from The Bachelor nation. It has also pushed me to reevaluate and process what my experience on The Bachelor represents, not just for me, but for all of the contestants of color, especially the Black contestants of this season and seasons past, and for you, the viewers at home,” he wrote.
The Bachelor is currently on hiatus.