The 25th season of ABC’s The Bachelor came to a dramatic end on Monday with star Matt James selecting Rachael Kirkconnell and, with taping having wrapped months ago, we learned that James had become an insecure, woke leftist and kicked Kirkconnell to the curb after social media posts showed Kirkconnell attended an antebellum-themed plantation party in college.
And when brought face-to-face with Kirkconnell for the first time, James dismissed a sobbing Kirkconnell’s apologies because he doesn’t “wanna be emotionally responsible for those tears.”
Though they weren’t discussed on the show, other “crimes” included Kirkconnell having been born in Georgia and then for having allegedly bullied someone in high school for liking Black men, engaged in “brownfishing,” showed a belief in Q-Anon by posting about human trafficking, and liked pro-Trump social media posts (including posts about Prager U). Before the season even started, Reddit was out for blood.
With host Chris Harrison having also been cancelled for the crime of emphasizing the need for forgiveness and grace, woke FS1 host Emmanuel Acho hosted the After the Final Rose special.
Acho promised “uncomfortable” “conversations” with the qualifier that “if we can talk openly and honestly, we can take important steps toward mutual understanding and healing.” At the end of the show, he insisted that he, like James, doesn’t “agree with cancel culture, but I do agree with accountability.”
Uh-huh. More like permanently destroying one’s life and engaging in self-flagellation before millions of people.
James’s solo interview touched on how difficult it was to be the first Black Bachelor and that he felt the need to be “on [his] best behavior” to make non-Black people accept him. However, it never touched on how the insecurity over his broken family had come to define him and whether that played a role in the fact that he failed to end up with any of the record 37 contestants.
Instead, James then explained what happened when the antebellum hubbub took shape in early February, that she didn’t “understand what it means to be Black in America,” and that he promptly dumped her (click “expand”):
JAMES: [S]o you wanna believe that — you know your person better than anybody else knows your person, and while all this controversies — swirling around, who Rachael is and — things that she might have attended and pictures that she liked and people that she's associated with. Before Rachael addressed anything or Chris Harrison spoke on anything, 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. As someone who grew up in the South, it takes me to a place that I often try not to think about. Events, people, places that I'm not welcome. When she spoke out and publicly acknowledged that she would do better and she apologized is when I was finally able to take — check on myself and see where I was at, and — I wasn't okay, because it — it was in that moment and the conversation that I had that — Rachael might not understand what it means to be Black in America.
ACHO: Where do things stand now between you and Rachael?
JAMES: As Rachael acknowledged in her apology, there's a lot of work that needs to be done. I have to take a step back and allow her to put in that work — and I'm looking forward to seeing her put in that work.
ACHO: So you all are no longer together?
JAMES: We're not.
ACHO: Sorry to hear that. Um — what was that breakup conversation like?
JAMES: It was — as tough as you can imagine — and it's — it's heartbreaking. If you don't understand that something like that is problematic in 2018, there's a lot of me that you won't understand, and it's — it's as — it's — it's as — it's — it's as simple as that.
ACHO: What would you say to people who imply, if you broke up with her over an action from three years ago that wasn't intended to be malicious, then you, Matt James, never really loved Rachael?
JAMES: You know what was a long time ago?
ACHO: What's that?
JAMES: Plantations, and so I would ask those same people who are so triggered to bring that same energy to supporting folks of color who are asking for change, because a lot of those conversations that are being had are outside of people of color and people who have never been the only person who looks like them in a room and someone who's never been discriminated against.
In other words, James chose to lean into the advice of the anti-racist mob over his Christ-centered faith that’s based on forgiveness.
Kirkconnell came off as contrite, insisting in her solo segment that “I don't wanna...sit here and victimize myself” and rejected Acho’s invitation to blame her education, family members, or hometown as having contributed to her lack of wokeness.
After a lecture from Acho, Kirkconnell said she didn’t immediately release a statement because she wanted to “not just say the right words just to have people accept them, but I wanted myself to really understand exactly why people were so hurt by this.”
And when asked about what she’s been doing to become anti-racist, Kirkconnell gave a thoughtful answer about how she wouldn’t recite a list of things she’s read or watched simply to please critics but instead “put that education into play” after having “lost the love of my life.”
Before James joined, Acho asked Kirkconnell if she ever thought the posts would “ruin your life.” What a jerk.
Kirkconnell repeatedly told James she was “sorry” and “realized that that must have been really hard for you, as well, to where — you must have been hurting, and I just wanted to say I'm really sorry for not understanding that initially[.]”
James only muttered that the situation was “devastating,” “heartbreaking,” and “just disappointing” before going silent for an extended period of time.
James gathered himself and ripped Kirkconnell as having proven that she never understood “my blackness and what it means to be a Black man in America” and thus “we can’t be in a relationship.”
Kirkconnell rebutted the notion she had any animosity towards him and revealed that she loves him so much she’s unsure if there will be “anyone else out there for me” (click “expand”):
JAMES: The most disappointing thing for me was having to explain to you why what I saw was problematic and why I was so upset. And — and that's why it was — that's why it was problematic, because — when I'm in a relationship, it means that — I'm committed to that person, and commitment, for me, when I'm dating someone, is on track to get married and so when I questioned our relationship, it was in the context of you not fully understanding my Blackness — and what it means to be a Black man in America and what it would mean for our kids when I saw those things that were floating around the internet. And it broke my heart, because this is the last conversation I thought we'd be having. I didn't sign up to have this conversation and I knew that — I had to take a step back for you to put in that work that you outlined that you needed to do, and. — that's something that you gotta do on your own, and that's why we can't be in a relationship.
ACHO: Rachael, how would you communicate to Matt that the woman he fell in love with — not the woman from 2018, but the woman he fell in love with — is the woman sitting in front of him right now?
KIRKCONNELL [CRYING] Um, I think that's — really what I tried to explain to you when we had that talk was — you were the only reason that I decided to do the show — um, and that includes every single part of you — and that obviously includes you being a Black man. I've never experienced a love like this, so — I don't see — anyone else out there for me, and — at this point, I just don't see how I can — have these same feelings for someone else.
James then dismissed Kirkconnell’s tears because it’s something he doesn’t want to have to deal with: “I don't wanna be emotionally responsible for those tears, cause it's like — the work and the reconciliation that needs to be done is — is work that I can't do for you, and I know that you're capable of doing it.”
This left an already emotional Kirkconnell even more distraught, but she mustered these last words:
Since day one, all I want is for you to be happy, and I just want what's best for you, and — and I am sorry, and — I just — I thank God for — ever putting you in my life to begin with, and — I'll always be thankful for — um, you know, everything that we shared and the time that we did have together.
In a fitting end to this woke beatdown of Kirkconnell, Acho invited James and Kirkconnell to “share one final embrace” as they might not ever see each other again, but they didn't happen.
Maybe it’s because James didn’t want to be “emotionally responsible” for Kirkconnell.
Instead, James took one last twist of knife: “I don’t know if it'll ever not hurt hearing those things.”
Somewhere, Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi must have been watching this and, upon seeing Kirkconnell’s life destroyed, felt a sense of warmness in their hearts.