The Bachelor‘s Serena Pitt is revealing her reaction to learning about fellow season 25 contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s racism controversy that has rocked Bachelor Nation.
ET’s Kevin Frazier spoke to Serena P. on Tuesday, after she decided to take herself out of the competition following her hometown date with Matt James. Serena shared that she actually spent the most time with Rachael out of all the women in the house since they were roommates, which is why she was shocked to learn of Rachael’s past racist actions. Just after James’ Bachelor premiere in January, a TikTok user accused Rachael of bullying her in the past for dating Black men. Then, another user accused Rachael of liking racist photos. Pics have also surfaced of Rachael at an Old South plantation-themed party while in college.
“I was surprised if I’m being honest when all of this came out about her,” Serena tells ET. “I didn’t expect it, there was nothing in the house that made me predict that something like this could be associated with Rachael. So, yeah, it was difficult to learn about her.”
Serena said she does think Rachael has grown from her past.
“I’m looking forward to her continuing to speak out on it, especially once her time on the show ends and she can come out and speak further, and I do think that she has learned a lot since that time in her life and I encourage her to continue learning,” she says.
Serena shared with ET that she has spoken to Rachael briefly a couple of times since the season ended. The 24-year-old Georgia native has apologized for her past actions and taken full responsibility.
“I saw her statement as well as her video that she posted on her platform,” Serena says. “I respect her for speaking out and taking accountability for her actions, for, you know, saying that she is going to do better and that she is going to do the work. And I respect her for saying, ‘Do not defend me,’ because what she did was wrong and no one should be defending those racist actions that have come out. I am really looking forward to her continuing that work and I think that she’s got a great platform to be able to speak out and educate people on that, and I’ve seen her do that and I am hopeful that she will continue to do that moving forward.”
Serena said that she and the other women who vied for James’ heart are “exhausted” by the controversy surrounding The Bachelor this season, but are continuing to support Rachel Lindsay. The season 13 Bachelorette recently deactivated her Instagram account after she said she was getting threatened. The choice came after host Chris Harrison faced criticism for defending Kirkconnell’s past racist actions during an interview with Lindsay. Harrison has since apologized, and has decided to step aside from the franchise “for a period of time.”
Serena shares of her and the other women this season, “There has been some discussion. … A lot of us are quite close friends and we’re exhausted. We’re tired. It’s been a lot this season. It feels constant and never-ending and a lot of disappointment, but we are adamant to continue the fight and to continue to use our voices to support Rachel Lindsay through this as well as the people of color within this franchise and to continue that fight against racism.”
The Bachelor airs Mondays on ABC. Tune in to Tuesday’s ET for more of our interview with Serena P.
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