Each season of The Bachelorette brings a controversial contestant or two, and this time around, it involves some offensive Instagram likes. But on Wednesday, Becca Kufrin responded to Garrett Yrigoyen's alleged Instagram behavior during an interview with E!, and the way she reacted may not be the way that fans of the shows had hoped she would. (Bustle has reached out to ABC about the alleged Instagram activity, but they declined to comment.)
Last week, former Bachelor contestant Ashley Spivey shared screenshots of Yrigoyen's alleged likes, sent to her by fans. Among the likes were an assortment of offensive content including claims that Parkland student David Hogg is a crisis actor, one about throwing undocumented children back over a wall at the border, as well as other sexist and transphobic photos. Of course, since Bachelorette contestants (including the lead) aren't allowed phones or access to the internet while the show is filming, Becca is only now finding out about this development, but she wants her fans to keep an open mind.
She told E!:
"I've heard a little bit about it these past couple days. I've just been so busy traveling around the country with press that I haven't really been able to read too much up on it, but everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and at the end of the day I wanted to go on this journey to open up myself and have people see my love story unfold and I would hope that they would stay open and respect me but also stay open and respect these 28 guys that went along on the journey with me."
It makes sense that Becca might not be informed about the current controversy, but it's a lot to ask fans to stay open to getting to know a contestant like Garrett who allegedly holds such offensive beliefs. Tolerance for hate like what is displayed in these Instagram posts is lower than ever in America right now (as exemplified by Roseanne's cancellation on Tuesday), and it's difficult to respect someone who doesn't do the same for people who are different from him.
It's also important to note that Becca herself doesn't seem to hold similar beliefs to the subject matter of these posts. In the past, she's retweeted liberal leaning posts on Twitter, including one from former vice president Joe Biden about supporting the LGBTQ community. That just makes it all the more strange that Becca is willing to let these alleged likes slide — and that she's asking fans to do the same.
She also talked to Entertainment Tonight about the alleged posts. "I can't fault on anyone for what they believe and who's to say that anyone is truly what they believe in if they just double tap. I can't speak to that because that's just not me," she said. "I am a strong woman and I do believe in certain things, but again, that's what's so great about our country — everyone is entitled to their own opinions."
She also said in her interview with E! that having face to face conversations with her contestants — with no means to research them online via their social media accounts — was refreshing for her, because she got to know them by talking to them personally. Because of that, she wants fans to get to know her contestants through watching this season instead of judging them by what they see online.
"People form their own opinions, but at the end of the day, I know who I am and my friends and family know the type of person who I am, and I can only hope the guys feel that same way. It's going to be tough. I think social media is a huge presence in our lives these days. There's no getting around that fact. It's difficult for people to say certain things about any of these guys, and so I would really just hope that they watch the entire journey and get to know them for who they really are."
Although social media can definitely complicate things when it comes to dating, in this case, it does help fans formulate a more rounded opinion of contestants who weren't in the spotlight before The Bachelorette. Some fans will probably be unhappy with Becca's request, and that's totally understandable. It's hard to move past finding out that someone may hold such offensive beliefs.
As Becca mentioned in her interview with E!, she hasn't been able to fully research the situation, so maybe her opinion will change once she has. It's important that this kind of behavior isn't tolerated — even in the name of reality TV love.