TV & Movies

Matt James Finally Addressed The Viral Rachael TikTok Controversy

"Everyone has a story and I would just be receptive to that."

Rachael and Matt during their one-on-one shopping date. Photo via ABC

After taking her on a shopping spree and telling her he’s "falling in love" during the Feb. 1 Bachelor episode, Matt James finally addressed those Rachael Kirkconnell rumors. The most prominent yet unverified whispers swirling around TikTok is an account from one woman who said she was "ridiculed" by Rachael and her friends for dating Black men. Another TikToker accused Rachael of liking racist and problematic posts on social media.

In a Feb. 2 conversation with Entertainment Tonight, Matt acknowledged the rumors carefully, saying he hadn't talked to any of the women about the current controversy. It stands to reason that Matt and the winner have at least broached the subject since filming ended. But viewers can't know that just yet, so Matt wisely opted for a general caution against the power of the social media rumor mill instead.

"I would just warn people to be careful about making accusations before someone’s had a chance to speak on it ... we saw how that happened with Brittany and Anna," Matt said. "And rumors are dark, and they’re nasty, and they can ruin people’s lives, so ... I would give people the benefit of the doubt, and hopefully, she’ll have her time to speak on that.”

Later in the interview, he added, "When you make accusations about somebody that have no merit, it’s dangerous. And I would just encourage people to be smart with their words and make sure that they don’t believe everything they see and hear on the internet because those are the times we’re living in." He finished, "Everyone has a story, and I would just be receptive to that.”

As ET noted, it is not uncommon for Bachelor contestants to avoid commenting on reports like these during their time on the show, which could explain Rachael's silence on the matter.

Perhaps these Rachael rumors are making such a splash because she's a frontrunner for this season. Not only did Matt and Rachael reveal that they're falling for each other during their one-on-one, but viewers also noticed that he was listening to her playlist on Spotify. While it's definitely a significant clue about who may end up with the final rose, Matt was quick to brush off his listening habits. "People are very eager to find any tea," he told ET. "Lucky for me, I had a very good group of women, and I’ve taken a lot of what I’ve learned from them and applied it to my life."