"I was wrong," says Kirkconnell, after photos of her at a plantation-themed party surfaced online.
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UPDATE: The 25 BIPOC contestants featured on this season of The Bachelor have released a statement via Instagram. "We're deeply disappointed and want to make it clear we denounce any defense of racism," it says. Read the full statement below.

EARLIER: Season 25 Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell has issued an apology for what she calls her past "racist and offensive" actions. The 24-year-old graphic designer has been facing a wave of criticism recently after past photos resurfaced, including one where she's dressed in costume as a Native American, and one of her from 2018 the "Kappa Alpha Order 'Old South' formal, an antebellum plantation themed ball," according to the Reddit user who posted the photo.

Rachael Kirkconnell
Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC

In an instagram post on Thursday night, Kirkconnell admits her actions were "wrong" and "racist." She goes on to write, "I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist... I am ashamed about my lack of education, but it's no one's responsibility to educate me... I deserve to be held accountable for my actions."

Kirkconnell is considered a frontrunner to "win" Matt James's heart on this season of The Bachelor. Host Chris Harrison has also been drawn into the controversy surrounding Kirkconnell's past behavior: After a relatively cringeworthy interview with EXTRA correspondent (and former Bachelorette) Rachel Lindsay, Harrison issued his own apology for "wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism."

The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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