Contestant Rachael Kirkconnell has not had an easy time being on The Bachelor this season, as Bachelor Nation responded harshly to pictures of Rachael at a Southern ball. Despite her off-screen controversy, Rachael’s connection with Bachelor Matt James is growing on the show. So when it was revealed this week that Rachael will be going to hometowns, fans had a lot to say…and meme.
There were rumors at the start of the season about Rachael being a “Mean Girl” off-screen, but the controversy really started when photos resurfaced showing Rachael at an “Old South” themed ball that viewers (rightfully) deemed extraordinary racially insensitive. Rachael has received significant blowback from the photos, and now that she’ll be introducing Matt to her family, the contempt for Rachael is spilling over onto her family. It didn’t take long for Bachelor Nation fans to come up with hilarious, and sometimes savage, scenarios for how the awkward family meet-up will go.
The movie Get Out was brought up by multiple fans, and for good reason. The film centers around a young Black man meeting his white girlfriend’s family for the first time, unaware of their sinister intentions. Fans thought it was the perfect comparison for Matt who might not know what he’s getting into.
— Frayncheesy (@Fraynchize) February 16, 2021
In the film, a brainwashed Black character is awoken from his trance with a camera flash, which one fan makes reference to. This fan jokingly theorizes that Matt will be similarly brainwashed and will need saving from Rachael and her family.
— vi (@WhyViva) February 16, 2021
Rachael has apologized for her racist behavior, but Bachelor Nation isn’t ready to forget about her “Old South” ball pictures. In one meme, a fan compares Rachael to the character Scarlett O’Hara from the film Gone With The Wind. The classic film has come under fire for its rosy depiction of slavery during the Civil War era, and fans see clear parallels between Rachael and the haughty and casually racist Scarlett.
— zenobia shroff (@ZenobiaShroff) February 16, 2021
Some fans took more direct shots at Rachael’s family, and one offered a photo montage representing how she sees Rachael’s family home. The photos juxtapose basic-girl decor with a decorative Confederate flag, implying that Rachael’s family is going to be just as racially-insensitive as her.
— MΛLIΛ (@kirbysaurusrex) February 16, 2021
There were some Bachelor Nation fans who refused to pull any punches when it comes to excusing Rachael’s behavior. One fan straight-up compared Rachael’s family to a group of fully decked-out Ku Klux Klan members. This viewpoint could be considered extreme, but it demonstrates the level of outrage that fans feel over years of BIPOC contestants getting the short end of the stick.
— The Golden God (@AvsFan20) February 16, 2021
The memes are funny, but there have been very real repercussions to Rachael’s actions. Although she is still on The Bachelor, Chris Harrison is leaving as host of the franchise, but he has not officially quit or been fired. Regardless of how accurate the memes are, viewers are in for a very interesting hometowns episode next week.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8pm EST on ABC.