Rachael Kirkconnell’s mother, Kim, has defended the antebellum party that her daughter has received immense backlash for while appearing on The Bachelor.
Kim spoke out in an interview to address and attempt to clear up some of the details surrounding the racism controversy.
She claimed Rachael has been left “devastated” by the scandal because she feels like she “let everyone down” — but insisted that her daughter is not racist.
Kim claims they did not ‘party on a plantation’
Speaking about the controversial antebellum party pictures, which saw Rachael and her friends dress up in period dresses, Kim said that the photos were from an event called the Rose Ball, organized by the fraternity Kappa Alpha Order.
“The formal was a trip to the beach. Before they left for the beach, they took pictures in a garden wearing Southern Belle dresses,” Kim told The Sun. She also insisted that there was no racist intention behind the photo shoot.
“The event made no references to the Civil War, the word antebellum was never used to describe the event, no confederate flags were present, and no confederate outfits were worn,” she added. “They did not party on a plantation in the dresses. They took some pictures, changed, and went to the beach.”
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Rachael quit the sorority shortly after the pictures
Kim explained that Rachael quit her sorority soon after attending the formal and taking those pictures.
Kappa Alpha reportedly has confederate roots and ties to Confederate commander Robert E. Lee, and Kim claims that learning these facts caused Rachael to leave Greek life.
“Rachael now knows the full extent of the history behind Kappa Alpha and their formal and feels horrible that she hurt people by attending,” Kim shared. “Not long after attending the formal was when she began to acknowledge a lot of problematic and racist behavior within Greek life and chose to disassociate herself.”
She added, “She dropped out of her sorority that same year and was disaffiliated for the rest of her time in school because she did not share their views and beliefs and did not want to be a part of it anymore.”
Rachael has also spoken out since the pictures were brought to the public’s attention, apologizing and acknowledging that the pictures were wrong. She claimed that her “ignorance was racist.”
Rachael will likely have to address the matter in person when she appears on the finale special After The Final Rose.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.