"Bachelor" frontrunner Rachael Kirkconnell is apologizing for her recently uncovered social media posts, which some have called racist.
Kirkconnell took to Instagram to address her past actions Thursday, admitting she was wrong.
"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," she wrote. "They are not acceptable or okay in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist."
Kirkconnell, who is among the women still vying for Matt James' heart on the current season of "The Bachelor," found herself in hot water after TikTok users found evidence of her liking social media posts with the confederate flag and sharing Qanon conspiracy theories.
And last week, a post on Reddit allegedly showed the "Bachelor" contestant at a 2018 "Old South" college formal, a plantation-themed party.
In response to the allegations, Kirkconnell said in her Instagram post that she is "ashamed about her lack of education" and recognized that "it is no one's responsibility to educate me." She also said that she wants to continue learning how to be anti-racist.
"Racial progress and unity are impossible without (white) accountability," she added. "I deserve to be held accountable for my actions."
But while she apologized and acknowledged that she isn't seeking forgiveness for it, many are hoping she means it, including former "Bachelorette" Rachel Lindsay.
"An apology is just a little step in the right direction," she told "Good Morning America" in an interview. "So I am now going to hold her accountable for the things that she said in her statement and I expect to see her act on them."
On Tuesday, Lindsay spoke with "Bachelor" host Chris Harrison on Extra about the allegations surrounding Kirkconnell. Harrison faced backlash when he addressed the photos of Kirkconnell at an "Old South" party and defended the photos as being from a long time ago and alluded to Kirkconnell potentially being a victim of so-called "cancel culture."
"People are tearing this girl's life apart and diving into her and her parents' voting record. It's unbelievably alarming to watch this," Harrison told Lindsay in their interview. "I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago and that's it… like, boom. Like OK, well this girl is in this book now. And she's now in this group, and I'm like, 'Really'?"
Lindsay responded, "Well, the picture was from 2018 at an Old South antebellum party … that's not a good look."
"Well Rachel, is it a good look in 2018? Or, is it a good look in 2021?" he told her. "Because there's a big difference."
Harrison ultimately walked back on his comments in a public apology shared to his Instagram post Wednesday and said his choice of words was "a mistake."
"I took a stance on topics about which I have been better informed," Harrison wrote in his Instagram post. "What I now realize what I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism."
But women from the current season of "The Bachelor" aren't letting Harrison's comments slide so easily. Late Thursday evening, a group of women who identify as BIPOC came together to share a collective statement on each of their Instagram accounts to "denounce any defense of racism" and to demand change.
"We are the women of Bachelor Season 25. Twenty-five women who identify as BIPOC were cast on this historic season that was meant to represent change," they statement read. "We are deeply disappointed and want to make it clear that we denounce any defense of racism. Any defense of racist behavior denies the lived and continued experiences of BIPOC individuals. These experiences are not to be exploited or tokenized."
"Rachel Lindsay continues to advocate with 'grace' for individuals who identify as BIPOC within this franchise," the statement continued. "Just because she is speaking the loudest, doesn't mean she is alone. We stand with her, and we advocate for change alongside her."
In response to the post, Lindsay said she was moved to see so many women stand up and make their voices heard.
"To see women who are currently under contract, who are currently on television, who are being fearless in stepping out and using their platforms to talk about things that are important to them and demanding things that they want to see from the very franchise who is giving them this platform -- it's amazing," she said.
Now she hopes the real work to make change happen can begin.
"The franchise was called out in summer 2020. They responded by having their first Black Bachelor after 40 seasons and 18 years," said Lindsay. "And then you have the face, the spokesperson of that franchise say the things that were said this week and it lets you know the work isn't done."