Rachel Lindsay is speaking out following Matt James’ Bachelor finale. The former Bachelorette, who’s been outspoken on this season’s controversies, shared her thoughts on her and Van Lathan’s podcast, Higher Learning, on Friday.
“This is tough for Matt,” Lindsay said. “Matt’s in a bad situation.”
On Monday’s finale, James professed his love for Rachael Kirkconnell and the pair decided to leave the show in a committed relationship, though not engaged. On After the Finale Rose, though, James revealed that he’d broken up with Kirkconnell amid her racism controversy.
The decision to end their relationship came after Kirkconnell’s past actions came to light in January. First, a TikTok user accused the graphic designer of previously bullying her for dating Black men. Then, another user accused her of liking racist photos. Pics have also surfaced of her at an Old South plantation-themed party while in college. Kirkconnell has since apologized and asked people to stop defending her actions.
After James split with Kirkconnell, telling her on After the Final Rose, “I had to take a step back for you to put in that work that you outlined that you needed to do,” the former Bachelor received a slew of racist insults online. In a post to her Instagram Story, Kirkconnell, who still believes her ex is the love of her life, called those posts “repulsive.”
“It’s wild out there, y’all. It’s so toxic. Bachelor Nation, y’all are gonna be the reason this show doesn’t exist anymore, ’cause you’re so damn toxic. You’re gonna be the demise of the show and the reason it’s taken down,” Lindsay said on her podcast. “You’re nasty, you’re vile, you’re harassing Matt for a decision that he made. He supports the girl, he’s allowing her to do it on her own, let’s move on.”
Chris Harrison, the show’s host, found himself involved in the scandal too, when he defended Kirkconnell in an interview with Lindsay, encouraging people to offer her “grace,” and speaking out against the “woke police.” He has also apologized and expressed his desire to return to the franchise after deciding to step aside “for a period of time.”
Lindsay, who temporarily deactivated her Instagram due to the harassment she received for speaking out against Harrison’s comments, has accepted the host’s apology and said she doesn’t plan to comment on his potential future in the franchise.
However, Lindsay did discuss Harrison being replaced by Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe on the upcoming season of The Bachelorette. On Tuesday’s episode of her podcast, Lindsay reiterated that Harrison has not been fired, but stepped aside to better educate himself on issues surrounding racism.
“‘You got Chris Harrison fired. He’s cancelled. Cancel culture,'” Lindsay said of the messages she’s been getting on social media. “I need people to read the statement. I need people to understand what’s happening. He has not been fired. He said he was gonna step aside. It’s a new season that has already started filming.”
Lindsay went on to state that the longtime host of the franchise needs more than a week to better educate himself on the topic.
“Chris Harrison has stepped aside to educate himself. The show supports him on that,” she explained. “So he is not on this current season. He can’t get educated in the way that he needs to in one week.”
“Kaitlyn and Tayshia are stepping in. They are not hosts. They aren’t co-hosting. They’re stepping in to facilitate this season, and give advice and host dates,” Lindsay added. “And good for them, good for them.”
Amid Harrison’s break from the franchise, Emmanuel Acho hosted After the Final Rose. During Friday’s Higher Learning, Lindsay said that she thought the bestselling author and former NFL player did “fine” with the gig, during which he led conversations with Kirkconnell and James.
“Emmanuel’s conversations ain’t for Black people, they’re not for us. They’re for white people. It is about making them feel comfortable,” Lindsay said. “It is about asking, maybe a thoughtful, insightful question, but not a question where it’s really gonna hit like that.”
“For example, I would’ve said to Rachael, ‘Why did it take so long for you to apologize?’ She answered. I would’ve had five more follow-up questions,” she continued. “That’s not the type of show that it was gonna be.”
After the Final Rose also featured the announcement of the next two Bachelorettes, Katie Thurston and Michelle Young, both of whom will get their own season of the show. While Thurston, who is white, had been rumored as the next lead for weeks, the franchise’s decision to give Young her own season came later.
“And then they give Michelle a show, which I love, but we know why you’re giving Michelle a show,” Lathan said of the teacher, who is Black.
“That’s how I feel about it,” Lindsay agreed. “Listen, it had been rumored for weeks that it was Katie. All of a sudden you want to say, ‘Guess what? Surprise twist! We have two Bachelorettes!’ Come on, y’all. I like Michelle a lot, but this is the problem with the franchise. The answer is not giving us a Black Bachelorette. If you’re really trying to fix your issues, that’s not it.”
“I hope to talk to Michelle… I like Michelle a lot,” she added. “… Don’t like the fact that you’re gonna give us, ‘Oh, we got a white Bachelorette, now we’re gonna give you a Black Bachelorette. We got a white host coming in to fill in for Chris, we’re gonna give you a Black one too.’ I’m not for it. Not for it. That’s not going to fix the issues.”
At the end of the day, Lindsay said she’s “thrilled” this season is over, and revealed that she doesn’t plan to cover future seasons for the franchise.
“I’ve never been more excited for a season to be over with. Thrilled. I was in the best mood Tuesday, the next day,” she said. “… I’m just glad it’s over. Everybody can move on. We will not be covering the next season. We’re not doing it. Sorry y’all.”
Follow along with ET’s coverage of the Bachelor finale and the After the Final Rose special here.
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