Matt James ‘pursuing’ relationship again with ‘Bachelor’ winner accused of racism

Rachael Kirkconnell was part of a group that embraces Confederate General Robert E. Lee as its "spiritual leader."

Former The Bachelor contestant Matt James is continuing to pursue his relationship with Rachael Kirkconnell.

The two broke up after the surfacing of racially insensitive photos capturing Kirkconnell posing in an antebellum-style dress at a former slave plantation as part of her sorority.

Former “The Bachelor” contestant Matt James attends last February’s relaunch of The Delta SkyMiles® American Express Card at Helen Mills Event Space in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for the Delta SkyMiles® American Express Card Portfolio)

Kirkconnell was a member of Kappa Alpha at Georgia College & State University, a group that embraces Confederate General Robert E. Lee as its “spiritual leader.” During its annual “Old South Week,” Kappa Alpha has been known to hold parties on former plantations and use Confederate flags as decorations.

In a new interview with People magazine, James said, “I’ve seen Rachael a handful of times. I’m not pursuing any relationships right now outside of that. I said I was going to focus on my relationship with her, and that means focusing on it.”

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The two have been spotted out and about in New York and Los Angeles.

James spoke with the magazine regarding his partnership with Dick’s Sporting Goods for May’s National Runners’ Month.

In the interview, James said that Kirkconnell has been “doing the work” in educating herself about racism, but that it was something she would have to be asked about directly. “A lot of what I’m focused on right now is the work that I’m doing in the community,” he said, “and with the [marathon] training.”

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In February, Kirkconnell released a statement, saying, “At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them. My age or when it happened does not excuse anything. They are not ok or acceptable in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.”

She said she is “learning and will continue to learn how to be an antiracist.”

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James will not appear on the next installment of The Bachelor this summer, titled Bachelor in Paradise.

He said he enjoyed the meaningful conversations that took place on the show. “I think it’d be a lot of fun to be a voice on important issues. That’s where I see my future and where I’m pursuing opportunities.”

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