My email is thoughts on the ATFR…
Being a 62 yr old white woman who has watched the show from inception (excluding a few seasons that I just preferred to read your spoilers and recaps on), I really appreciated Emmanuel as the host. This season has opened my eyes to see I may be considered racially ignorant. I have friends of color, defended POC to racial ignorance and insensitive comments, but i have never had hard conversations with my friends or realized that they may view the world differently. I’ve just always seen that good and evil exist in all races and religions and you cannot lump everyone into the same category based on skin color or religious belief. I realize now that was naive, and plan on buying Emmanuel’s book.
I agree with you that Matt was not looking to get married. His awkward silences were cringe worthy and the fact that he broke up with Racheal “over the phone”, a person “he was in love with” speaks volumes. Not to mention, his choice of the white woman, over 3 beautiful well spoken black women, you would think he would have explored those hard conversations, while dating, to make sure she knew and understood him, if he was seriously considering her as a wife.
I am really looking forward to both both Bachelorette seasons. Katie seems to speak her mind and hopefully will move production in the right direction, and she will not be a puppet! I think Michelle will be a delight, as we saw glimpses of her fun personality (push-ups after the rose ceremony so she would look good on camera)and the fact that last night, she said she forgives easily, I think she will be an excellent choice as well!
Thanks for all your recaps, spoilers and racial education, keep it coming!
Comment: Thank you for that email. Mostly for the fact you’re a 62 year old white woman who openly admits your eyes have been opened. Not many people of that age, gender, and ethnicity can admit that. I know this because I see those same people on Twitter bashing everyone who wants to hold Chris Harrison accountable. So kudos to you, and I’m glad you’re interested in buying Emmanuel’s book. You won’t be disappointed.
Intrigued by your statement that something more went down with Matt/Rachael the past six weeks than what was discussed.
Rachael owned everything last night and answered hard questions to the best of her ability, under very difficult circumstances.
Matt looked like a clueless jerk. 1) Not meeting with Michelle and 2)Bailing on Rachael the minute adversity reared its head. Individuals in long-term relationships will grow and change across their lifetime. Mates/spouses should be there for support, encouragement and helping their mate evolve into the best person they can be. Matt’s quick exit on the relationship (and by phone!!) lends credence to your pre-season intel that he was never in this for a long-term commitment.
Two of the few statements he made, make it clear he’s not husband material and not mature enough to partner with anyone right now, knowing the many ups and down life will deliver across dozens of fronts that include death, illness, finances, etc. “I didn’t sign up to have this conversation.” “I don’t wanna be emotionally responsible for those tears.” Red flag. Red flag. The one wise thing he did all season, was process that he wasn’t ready to get engaged.
Comment: Like I said, this seems to be the sentiment among more of the readers than not.
Thank you for all the work you do in raising awareness on the multiple issues this franchise has with race.
It seems to me a big momentum was created with Matt being the first black bachelor and then everything that happened with Rachael and Rachel, but I feel that the show completely missed the boat. Everything we’ve seen from them so far is surface level, no specific or sincere commitment from them to make any meaningful changes.
Emmanuel Acho did an outstanding job at the ATFR, but all the focus was on the Matt/Rachael issues, he barely mentioned the whole CH/Rachel Lindsay debacle. That was very disappointing.
None of the issues raised by other BIPOC contestants were even mentioned, it’s pretty clear production is choosing to let this blow over.
When you announced last week that there would be 2 bachelorettes, my first (shocked) reaction was: does this mean now they’ll have separate seasons for black and white leads? I can’t even go there. What’s wrong with having two separate seasons? Hell of a lot better than the alternative when they’re both on the same season.
But what’s even more shocking and disappointing for me is that Michelle accepted the offer. She could have made a clear and powerful statement as a BIPOC contestant with a great fan base that she would not be Bachelorette until the show commits to making meaningful changes. Isn’t it obvious that this is at best a PR move from the franchise? Doesn’t she know that until not so long ago the only Bachelorette would be Katie and she is being used just like Matt was? Her being Bachelorette can only validate the show’s position that there is no problem.
It saddens me to say this, but once her season rolls around, if she ever comes out with complaints on how the show treats BIPOC contestants and leads, she will have lost all credibility.
Comment: I completely disagree with that. Michelle can accept the offer and be a total boss who gives us a great season. Why does this have to be an either/or situation? I’m not with you on that one. Does production have to clean up their act and handle her better than they have previous seasons? Absolutely. But she can’t know how they’re going to handle her if she doesn’t do the season. And no, she doesn’t lose all credibility if she complains in the end. If anything, her voice might create some change if that were to happen to her. Lets hope we don’t get to that point.
I was so impressed with Rachael last night. She was contrite and articulate and completely believable. I felt Emmanuel believed she was redeemable. He was absolutely the right man for the job. You could also tell she was heartbroken compared to Matt who looked like he was sitting next to a complete stranger (yet whom he said he could see as the mother of his children). What are we missing? Why was he so cold and unforgiving? Like you said, hope they come out and comment more about the situation unless your sources have given you more concrete details.
Comment: Who knows what’ll get out at this point.
This is just a random musing, but am I the only one who thinks it’s vaguely creepy and weird that a 49-year-old man is hosting a show about 20-somethings looking for love? The age gap is getting so wide he’s starting to fall into the Creepy Uncle category.
They have a legitimate reason to remove him based on his racially ignorant/insensitive conversation he had with Rachael. I feel like this would be a great time to ditch Chris and give the show the refresh it desperately needs.
I barely watch The Bachelor/Bachelorette, but I love Paradise, which doesn’t pretend to be anything other than hot 20-somethings running around on the beach looking for a summer hookup. Even though I only watch 50% of Bachelor/Bachelorette, I always read your columns!
Have a good day!
Comment: I mean, it does make sense to have Kaitlyn and Tayshia hosting Katie’s season. They’re closer in age, they’re female, and they’ve already been through exactly what Katie is about to go through. Will they be the permanent hosts going forward? I doubt it. But for this season, and maybe even Michelle’s, I can totally see it.
Long time reader, first time emailing in. I’m very disappointed in the show’s handling of all the race issues in what they publicized to be a historic season, so thank you for consistently calling them out for their hypocrisy and downfalls. You’re pretty much the only reason I still watch this show.
I know you said today that there is much more to the story than what we saw on AFTR. For me, it seems like the timeline didn’t line up. Matt made it seem as though (or maybe the producers just edited it this way) he waited until Rachael released her statement and then decided to break up with her, but in reality, didn’t they break up before she spoke out? Maybe I’m misremembering this, so please correct me if I’m wrong. No he definitely broke up with her after she released her statement. Her statement came out the day the WTA taped on Feb. 4th. He broke up with her after Valentine’s Day weekend after he’d returned home.
However, if I’m right and he did break up with her before she released her statement, that makes his explanation and justification last night look like complete BS. I’m truly of the opinion that Matt couldn’t take the media heat from staying with Rachael which is why he chose to break up with her because if he truly needed to see the evidence and not just believe the “rumors” that were out there, wouldn’t he have ended things when the pictures originally came out? I would love to hear your thoughts on all of this.
Comment: I’m just gonna sit here and whistle.
I just have a few comments on what you wrote recapping “After the Final Rose”. I think a lot of people (myself included) don’t think Rachael came out of it well at all. I think the crying, at times, did not feel genuine but very manipulative. It’s very interesting for you to note how she’s done all these apologies etc–and yes she’s posted a few stories (which I applaud her for) but it’s been mostly stories about her drinking matcha and linking to her fitwear. Now, I don’t think posting a few stories all of a sudden means that you have changed and are working towards change. She’s in fact done less than Hannah Brown in terms of posts, etc. So I am not comparing her to Chris Harrison, I’m comparing her to another contestant who also made a mistake.
As you say, only time will tell and we shall see. But I left watching that conversation, thinking there was more that took place. Matt seemed to hint that Rachael didn’t seem to understand that the ball itself was wrong. That would be big and would be a big issue for me, regardless of what happened in the last 6 weeks. On your point about Matt saying he thought there were rumors, I think he was referring to the Tik Tok. I can definitely see him standing by her through it all, until more conversations were had that maybe shed a different light. I just don’t think it’s fair to say that he just wanted to flee regardless. It was very obvious to me watching how uncomfortable Matt was sitting next to her. He had no interest–so many people would assume that conversations were had. To go further, EVEN if had broken up with her due to public pressure that’s ok too and totally his right. He just explained on After the Final Rose the massive amount of pressure he felt being the first Black Bachelor–and the moment he was representing with everything happening in the country.
Whatever you think of him traveling cross country in a pandemic (which deserves criticism) or being a clout chaser (which lead isn’t) doesn’t mean that he did not pick someone, love her and was immensely hurt by her actions.
On your point about the hate commentary. nobody deserves the hate speech–it’s disgusting that people are so vile. Rachael will have to live with this for the rest of her life, proving to many people that she’s not a racist, and I for one think that’s deserved–in 2021 or 2018.
Just wanted to give you my thoughts…
Comment: I pretty much disagree with all of that. But hey, that’s what makes the world go round.
Hi, Steve ~
I read your comments on the finale/ATFR with interest and had a few thoughts:
1) Is it my imagination, or was Chris Harrison looking more distracted, almost disheveled? Maybe I just never noticed this before, but I thought his answers to Matt during his periods of crisis were more mechanical and less empathetic than usual (to the extent that they were), almost like he was phoning it in. Ashley is convinced Chris has been mailing it in for years. I think he has too. 41 seasons and 18 years with the same show? I’m sorry. But there’s no way he’s still bringing the same passion now as he did back then.
2) Emmanuel Acho was impressive and, as you pointed out, far superior in his role to how Chris would have handled it. I appreciated his fairness and sensitivity in questioning Matt and Rachael, and his ability to ask the questions that we wanted to hear. I also was glad to hear the quote that you repeated, on how racial insensitivity and ignorance stand separate to racism. He was great in the role. I hope they use him in some capacity in the future. I really don’t see Kaitlyn and Tayshia hosting the MTA or ATFR of Katie’s season. I hope they use him for both of those.
3) Given that the ATFR was six hours, this may have been the edit, but I thought Rachael came off far better than Matt in terms of maturity and sensitivity. I too found Matt’s comment about he hoped the rumors were not true very odd. If he had not been with her when he found out through someone’s spoken or written comment, in what context would the picture have been absent, or at least quickly accessed by him? If he truly did not look at the picture before speaking with her, perhaps he didn’t want to believe it, which speaks to that not matching his experience of her in the relationship and suggests that he truly cared for her. And if that’s the case, probably a lot of us were wondering why on earth he would not have worked through that with her.
Also, I found his comments that she could not appreciate his experience of being black (or words to that effect) didn’t ring true. For cryin’ out loud, he knew her background. And you could say that of absolutely any person who is not black. It sounded like an excuse and not the real reason(s). That, along with his lack of speaking with any apparent insight or caring and long periods of silence made me think he has either not thought things through honestly, he didn’t want to speak certain thoughts in that forum, or a combination of both, which made me lose respect for his handling of this matter.
Comment: I think Matt really struggled on Monday night. His answers could’ve been better. And before anyone says “he didn’t want to be sitting next to that racist who disappointed him so much,” all I can tell you is that you’re wrong. There’s more to this story that maybe someday one or both might address. But that “he was disgusted to be next to her” narrative couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Thanks for the great spoilers this season.
1. Do you know if Matt and Rachael have been in touch at all since the ATFR taping? Yes.
2. Do you have any theory why that Matt fan account was certain Rachael won back in late November / early December? Did her friends leak it? Absolutely they did. Remember, I said back then that numerous people in Cumming, GA were all saying “word around town is that Rachael won.” Not to mention that same site had a post (which they conveniently deleted) saying Rachael had already been eliminated earlier. Rachael’s name wasn’t even on their radar (not to mention that since deleted post that she’d been eliminated), then all the sudden out of nowhere they said she was the winner. 2 + 2 = 4.
3. Do you have any idea where Rachael will go from here?
Comment: No idea.
How often have you heard from contestants* (or their friends/family) about how good the bachelor/bachelorette was at kissing or how they performed in the fantasy suite? I know there has been a lot of discussion about Matt’s open eyed kissing, but even without out that, the guy looks hella awkward. The placement if his lips looks weird, the way he touches and holds the girls looks uncomfortable, it just looks awkward all around. Have you heard feedback other than the open eyes? Were there any other seasons where there was a lot of negative feedback about those intimate moments? Never. And I’ve never asked.
*I just want to add that I hate calling them contestants. I guess they are “competing for Matt’s love” (eww), but love is two sided. I feel like calling them contestants makes it seem like it’s a forgone conclusion that they will all fall in love with Matt. It’s just up to him who is the best. I know this has been said dozens of ways for 20 years, but I still haven’t gotten past it. Has it been 20 years? Wow.
Comment: They definitely are contestants. “Game of Roses” will absolutely convince you this is a sport/game show, and these are contestants/players.
Send all links and emails to: email@example.com. To follow me on Twitter, it’s: www.twitter.com/RealitySteve. Instagram name is RealitySteve, or join my Reality Steve Facebook Fan Page. Talk to you tomorrow.
March 17, 2021 at 8:31 AM
Ladies, When Matt was awkwardly silent during the ATFR was because his brain is blank. Not because he’s being deep or trying to come up with something to say or feel. It was just because he has nothing.
That’s how guys work. If they feel something, oh we will hear and know about it. If there’s something on their minds, oh we will hear an earful about it.
March 17, 2021 at 1:29 PM
Not a bad assessment. Usually the case with me 🙂
March 17, 2021 at 7:40 PM
Never make it in time for emails but had a few thoughts on ATFR:
~Emmanuel did a fantastic job. I was so impressed with his desire to educate, understand, and inform.
~Two favorite things he said were that you could be racially insensitive or racially ignorant without being a racist. He does not believe Rachael is a racist. I agree. He also said he doesn’t believe in “canceling” people. These are excellent points for all of us to remember.
~Rachael came off as very sincere and as a woman in love. But, clearly, she is in pain. It was clear she had lost weight and was still taking her actions very seriously and was sincerely remorseful.
~The most telling thing Rachael did was to put Matt’s pain at the forefront…not her’s. She reached for his hand and consoled HIM. Very impressive.
~Matt came off more poorly and I was disappointed in him. But, after thinking about it, I realize that he was in a lose/lose situation. He definitely loved Rachael at one time but had a lot of pressure put on him to represent the black race. I think he chose to say so little because he would be damned either way.
~ I would like for people to understand that although Matt is a black man, he grew up in a relatively affluent part of Raleigh NC, attended Wake Forest University, and has a LOT of very close white friends. Out of all the lovely women on this season, he chose a white woman. He was raised by a white woman. So, Matt has lived as a black man surrounded by many, many, loving, supportive black AND white people.
~When Matt said he didn’t sign up to have these conversations, I think that’s true. It’s quite possible that his experiences as a black man have been very different than people might think.
~ The time Matt came across the most authentic was on night one when he opened in prayer. That got Rachael’s attention and it got mine. I’m going to pray for both of them.
March 17, 2021 at 7:40 PM
I don’t think Matt’s brain is blank but that he was struggling to say something that someone wouldn’t yell at him about, I.e., production. Everyone on this show has these scripted moments and without a script people get awkward.
I think this nails it: Watching Rachel Kirkconnell be crucified by Matt James on After The Rose was APPALLING.”
Because you know how last month was Black history Month? This month is Women’s History Month. And instead of respecting the women on the show we see one left to bleed to death on the stage sitting next to a man who said he loved her, said he was a Christian, and said she mattered to him. But apparently not enough to respect anything about her, even her basic humanity.
It’s no surprise to me that men who run the network, the man who runs this website, and Matt James and Mr. Acho don’t respect anything about Women’s History Month or women in general. I can’t wait until women run the world and can just get men out of all positions of power. I’m no fan of Chris Harrison, but what this show did to Rachel K . . . if I were her I would sue ABC for character assassination and defamation, and she would win. I hope she considers it. This kind of thing follows a person around for decades and she did not deserve how she was treated.
March 17, 2021 at 7:44 PM
PS- Saw that someone mentioned his Christianity. I do admit that some of his behavior hurt his witness. But, going forward, he can work on that. I hope.
March 18, 2021 at 7:42 AM
@shellylite Matt is a social influencer with Cameo, Instagram, TikTok and on and on accounts and he’s afraid to get yelled at and haters?? Doesn’t make any sense.
He dumped Abigail and Michelle in the coldest ways possible. He dumped Racheal over the phone too, even though I know she probably deserved it being a racist and all. His words or rather non-words to the women is obviously a pattern of his.
March 20, 2021 at 9:10 PM
Is Steve hinting that Matt and Rachel are possibly still together? Matt’s odd behavior on ATFR would make more sense if this was true. Maybe they are actually together, but are faking being broken up, because of social media and it’s the “right thing to do.” I honestly got this vibe… Maybe he came off as “cold” because he was trying to act “cold” and he’s not a very good actor.
March 21, 2021 at 4:12 AM
Enjoyed your response to the reader that bigot that you allotted exactly the consideration it deserved. EG none.
While I don’t generally support giving bigots a platform… I classify this in your ‘see the crazy I have to deal with’ category.
BTW, familiar w/KA Old South event. Even back in the early 80s, when the KAs held that annual event at my small college, I knew it was excreable taste & racist. And have was still in my musguided youthful conservative repuglican phase
Eas surprised that the reader will take to take time off storming the capital so watch the franchise 😉