Matt James has returned to Instagram after deactivating his account, but has deleted nearly all Bachelor content from his grid following a racism scandal enshrouding his season.
Now when fans visit Matt’s Instagram page, they are greeted primarily by photos of the star skateboarding, hanging out with friends, and working with his charity, ABC Food Tours.
James, 29, became the first Black Bachelor in the franchise’s 19-year history, but his time on the series ended in controversy after the woman he ended up selecting, Rachael Kirkconnell, was pictured attending a plantation-themed party in 2018.
Deleted! Matt James has returned to Instagram after deactivating his account, but has deleted nearly all Bachelor content from his grid amid a racism scandal enshrouding his season
Shortly after images of her at the bash emerged, host Chris Harrison defended her – but this resulted in major backlash, and the long-time host stepped aside from hosting the After The Final Rose special. Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams were subsequently brought in to replace him on the upcoming season of The Bachelorette.
Despite deleting all Bachelor related content, he did leave his statement addressing the controversy surrounding Rachael and Chris, in addition to a photo of himself skateboarding beside his Bachelor billboard.
Matt broke up with his final rose choice, Rachael, after the racism controversy broke earlier this year.
The two never got engaged and ended up leaving the series in a relationship, and Matt was blindsided when news started circulating about her controversial past.
Split: The woman James gave his final rose to, Rachael Kirkconnell, was pictured attending a plantation-themed party in 2018
‘You wanna believe that you know your person better than anybody else knows your person. This controversy swirling around who Rachael is and events she might’ve attended, pictures that she liked and people that she’s associated with,’ he said on After The Final Rose.
‘I’m trying to be there for her, and I dismissed them as rumors, because that’s what they were to me. You hear things that are heartbreaking and you just pray they’re not true. And then, when you find out that they are it just makes you question everything,’ he added.
Discussing the ‘weight’ of seeing Rachael for the first time at the special, he told Good Morning America: ‘It hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt the weight of everything that I was carrying throughout the season and with what we were dealing with as a country and having to explain that – why I think it’s problematic to me and our relationship – which was extremely difficult.’
‘It hit me like a ton of bricks’: James described the ‘weight’ of seeing Rachael for the first time on AFTR
Rachael has repeatedly apologized for her actions.
In an Instagram video last month, Rachael responded to the controversy, which included photos of her attending the antebellum-themed college party, plus allegedly liking and sharing social media posts with the Confederate flag and Qanon conspiracies.
She had previously posted a written statement.
At the start of the seven-and-a-half minute video, Rachael said: ‘The first big step in all of this is white people stepping up and taking accountability. Things will never change if we don’t all work together in working towards this racial progress and this unity that we want.’
Single again: Matt broke up with his final rose choice, Rachael, after the racism controversy broke earlier this year
Rachael went on to emphasize the importance of having uncomfortable conversations and putting in the work to ‘unlearn’ racism.
‘I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them. 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.
‘The learning never stops. We all need to continue to educate ourselves,’ she said, pointing viewers to antiracism resources in her Instagram Story and bio. She included articles titled, ‘How I confronted the truth about my fraternity’s racist history’ and ‘Why your native-inspired Halloween costume devalues our Indigenous cultures.’
Stepping aside: Chris Harrison has been replaced by Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams for the next season of The Bachelorette
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