Hypocrisy in a Hoopskirt: GC’s aluma Rachael Kirkconnell’s Bachelor scandal

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By Lilyana Kovacheva

Hypocrisy in a Hoopskirt: GC’s aluma Rachael Kirkconnell’s Bachelor scandal

For the past few weeks, The Bachelor fanbase’s uproar has shined a questionable spotlight on
GC.

In the lead up to season 25’s premiere, GC students were surprised to learn that one of the lucky
contestants would be none other than a GC alumna Rachael Kirkconnell. Kirkconnell, a member
of Alpha Delta Pi, graduated from GC in 2018.

Over the past month, many accusations have been made against Kirkconnell. Past acquaintances
have made remarks, calling Kirkconnell a racist, insensitive and ignorant.

The accusations began when a former schoolmate posted a TikTok exposing Kirkconnell for
allegedly bullying her classmate for liking Black men.

After nearly two decades and 24 seasons later, the newest Bachelor, Matt James, is the first
Black man to lead the show.

As the video spread, Bachelor fans dug up photos from Kirkconnell’s past.

Screenshots of Kirkconnell dressed up in offensive costumes surfaced, and photos of her dressed
in a Southern antebellum dress at Kappa Alpha’s ‘Old South’ formal were plastered across the
web.

“It’s unfortunate that Georgia College is being shown under such a questionable light,” said an
anonymous GC Faculty Member. “It’s also unfortunate that it’s 2021 and this is a conversation
that is still being had. However, it’s no shock that such an event was even held in the first place
by a Greek Life organization.”

After weeks of silence, Kirkconnell released a statement on Instagram apologizing to the
communities and individuals she offended.

“While there have been rumors circulating, there have also been truths that have come to light
that I need to address,” Kirkconnell wrote in her post. “I hear you, and I’m here to say I was
wrong.”

Rachael carried on to express remorse for her actions.

 

“At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t
excuse them,” Kirkconnell wrote. “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.”

Kirkconnell did not address her attendance of the ‘Old South’ party in her apology.

Her apology received mixed feelings and responses from followers, fans and people of color.

Around the same time as her response, Bachelor host, Chris Harrison, defended Kirkconnell’s
actions in a live interview with Rachel Lindsey, the first Black Bachelorette in show history.

Lindsey made a comment that the pictures in questions were “not a good look” to which
Harrison responded “Is it [not] a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021?”

Harrison’s remarks on the situation resulted in him stepping down from his position after 25
seasons as host. In his apologetic statement to the public on Good Morning America, Harrison
stated that he is “committed to progress – not just for [himself], also for the franchise.”

Harrison also clarified in one response that “Antebellum parties are not ok — past, present, and
future.”

Many students here on our GC Campus agree.

“The show needs to pay more attention to the contestants’ backgrounds to avoid giving attention
to those who don’t deserve the spotlight,” said Anna Mitchell, junior exercise science major and
member of GC Greek Life. “I am deeply ashamed but not shocked that this has come to light.”

Mitchell said Harrison ultimately did the right thing, but Kirkconnell has not fully repented her
actions.

“The only thing that they could do is publicly apologize,” Mitchell said. “What’s done is done
and they have to live with their consequences. I think Chris Harrison did the right thing by
stepping down because it was the only thing that would appease the angry people. Rachael can
apologize all she wants but she’s still not acknowledging why she’s in the wrong or why what
she did was wrong. Her actions are done and there’s no going back on it.”

The last time Kappa Alpha held the party was 2018, and there is speculation that COVID-19 is
the reason why the formal wasn’t thrown again the following year.

 

“I am disappointed this is the event that has put Greek Life and Georgia College in the
spotlight,” said Olivia Langell, a freshman exercise science major.

Langell expressed disgust at the praising of an outdated and racist heritage that some Greek Life
organizations choose to celebrate.

“It’s embarrassing,” said Caroline Hull, senior public health major and member of Greek Life.

“Yeah, we all know that this was a thing in the past and we can’t go back in time, but no one is
being held accountable for the fact that it is still carrying on. It continues to add a bad reputation
to any and all Greek Life chapters, especially in the South.”

GC Greek Life has yet to comment on the situation.