BACHELOR frontrunner Rachael Kirkconnel has been slammed by fans “as racist” for photos showing she attended an “Old South” party in 2018.
Though she said going to the formal – which is also called “Dixie Ball” – is “hard to defend,” the reality contestant’s cousin, Anastasia, claimed Rachael is “NOT racist” during an exclusive chat with The Sun.
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The Bachelor’s Rachael Kirkconnel was slammed for attending an ‘Old South’ party
The Southern formal features ladies in Antebellum-style dresses
Rachael is a frontrunner on this season of The Bachelor with Matt JamesCredit: American Broadcasting Companies
Photos of The Bachelor contestant attending one of these events as a college Senior at Georgia College & State University in 2018 resurfaced this week.
Her cousin, Anastasia, confirmed to The Sun that the photos are authentic and confessed it’s “not a positive look.”
Anastasia explained that the party is “really an excuse for girls to put on pretty dresses and everyone get drunk in college, but this is the nail in the coffin.”
She continued: “This party is not racially motivated but the core of the formal is what’s wrong and undeniable. That does not ignore the racist roots or the history of the KA chapter.
Rachael’s cousin, Anastasia, claimed the party’s racist roots are ‘undeniably wrong’Credit: Instagram
However, the Georgia native insisted her cousin is ‘NOT racist’Credit: Instagram
The cousins grew up together and have become close in their adult years
“[Rachael] did not have racist intent but she’s a fool for this one. I don’t believe she is racist even after this coming to light. But I think it’s going to be harder to defend this one.”
The bash is described as an “antebellum plantation-themed ball” by the college fraternity that throws it, Kappa Alpha.
Kappa Alpha has been criticized as “racist” due to its embrace of Confederate General Robert E. Lee as its “spiritual leader.”
The Southern fraternity throws their annual bash during “Old South Week” – a popular event that has previously been held on plantations and used confederate flags for decoration.
Rachael sent Anastasia a message that denounced the confederate flag
Rachael is ‘writing a statement’ she hopes to come forward with soonCredit: Instagram
In one snap from the dance, the brunette graphic designer smiled for a selfie in a large pink Antebellum-style dress next to two friends in similar gowns.
She can also be seen in a large group photo with over two dozen ladies in various colored ensembles.
While the photos circulating only feature women, men who attend “Old South” parties commonly wear costumes depicting Confederate soldiers and plantation owners.
Anastasia claimed that once Rachael learned of the “deeply ingrained racism in Greek life,” she dropped out of her sorority and was no longer affiliated during her Senior year.
However, Bachelor Nation was quick to slam Rachael and the show’s production for her “racist” behavior and urged ABC to “research” contestants further.
One person tweeted: “I’m beyond frustrated that @BachelorABC doesn’t do thorough research on their contestants. Rachael seems to be ignorant/racist but they put her on the first black bachelors season. Not to mention rumors are swirling that he ended up picking her, which isn’t fair to him.”
“Hey @BachelorABC why were you so quick to cast a black bachelor in the height of BLM protests but are dead silent rn about your super f**king racist front runner rachael?” Another asked.
Through the ongoing backlash, Rachael’s cousin claimed she has learned from her “ignorance” and will be coming forward with a statement soon.
Rachael is a contestant on Matt James’ season of The BachelorCredit: Getty Images – Getty
The brunette beauty is a frontrunner to win Matt’s heartCredit: American Broadcasting Companies
Anastasia said: “Rachael absolutely feels bad about going to the party. She feels in the moment all she cared about was getting a free trip to the beach and going to a fun party with her friends.
“She wasn’t aware of the history because the version they throw today is marketed as an old school party, not a confederate celebration. But her ignorance is a wasted excuse at this point.
“Rachael plans to make a statement about this and then look into advocating for better education about the confederacy in southern schools.”
The Georgia native and New Yorker went on a luxury shopping date this weekCredit: � 2020 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
However, she pointed out that ABC needs to approve so its unclear when she will publicly speak out.
In text messages between Anastasia and her cousin, Rachael can be seen allegedly saying: “Don’t even get me started on the confederate flag bulls**t!
“I truly don’t understand how you can’t understand what’s wrong with it!!!”
Rachael has been under fire for a number of ‘racist’ allegations this monthCredit: American Broadcasting Companies
Another message allegedly showed Rachael advocating for the Minneapolis cops involved in the murder of George Floyd to be arrested.
Matt James’ journey to find love airs Monday’s at 8pm E.T on ABC.