8:41am PT by Jackie Strause
'Bachelorette' Becca Kufrin Speaks Out on Frontrunner Controversy
Becca Kufrin is addressing the controversy that has quickly enveloped her brand-new season of The Bachelorette.
After the Monday premiere of her cycle of the ABC reality show, it was reported that her early frontrunner, Garrett Yrigoyen, had liked a series of inflammatory social media posts. The contestant from Reno, Nevada, is believed to have liked Instagam posts that mock undocumented immigrants, liberal feminists and the trans community, as well as posts that spread misinformation about Parkland, Florida, survivor David Hogg. The Instagram account that reportedly belonged to Garrett has since been deleted, but the activity was captured with screengrabs and shared by former Bachelor contestant Ashley Spivey on Twitter.
ABC and show producers Warner Bros. declined to comment earlier in the week, which only further ignited widespread media coverage of the story. Since the network acts as de facto publicist for all contestants while the show airs, the contestant likely will not be able to address the situation until his elimination — unless the conversation is brought up later in the season. Traditionally, contestants are not made available to press until they exit the show. (Garrett was not made available for comment to THR on Thursday.)
Instead, Becca, who herself is a publicist in Minneapolis, is addressing the situation. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight on Wednesday, Becca did not appear all that bothered by Garrett's social media activity and potential political beliefs, despite her active support for Hillary Clinton and participation in the Women's March.
"I want viewers to be open to everyone, and I want them to go through this season with me, and watch my love story unfold with all of these men," she told ET (video below) when asked specifically about the Garrett development. "Because that's how I went into this journey. People say and do certain things. I've done things in the past that I'm sure it wasn't the best thing."
She continued, "I can't fault anyone for what they believe, and who's to say that anything that anyone likes is truly what they believe in if they just double tap [a picture on Instagram]. I can't speak to that because it's not me. I am a strong woman and I do believe in certain things, but again, that's what's so great about our country is that everyone is entitled to their own opinions."
Becca said that if an argument did come up over political beliefs, she would "confront" the man she was dating: "We would have a discussion about it. We would get to the bottom of it and we would find a solution."
During the premiere episode, Garrett received Becca's "first impression" rose and the only kiss from the Bachelorette. In the interview, Becca expanded on her quick feelings for the medical sales rep, who impressed her by arriving in a minivan. "I liked that Garrett could be lightheared and laugh about the future about being a dad and having the minivan," she said.
The last three seasons of The Bachelorette have seen the contestant who received the first-impression rose go on to win the entire season. With Becca already announcing that she is engaged to her winner and with early predictions — including self-proclaimed "Rosetradamus" Jimmy Kimmel — pointing to Garrett, the interest to hear his side of the story is only going to grow.
Now that Becca has shared her side, viewers will likely have to wait until later in the season for the situation to be addressed from both sides. One option is that the situation could be discussed on one of the live specials with host Chris Harrison as the season winds down.
Franchise spoiler blogger Steve Carbone spoke to Spivey about her involvement in the Garrett story for his Reality Steve Podcast, which was posted on Thursday. Spivey explained that she received the screengrabs from someone else who had captured Garrett's activity from October 2017 up until he left to film the season. The person was able to see Garrett's activity because they followed him on Instagram. Spivey says that after confirming the activity with three other people who followed him, she shared the images on Twitter. She says Garrett deleted his account shortly after her post.
Spivey says she decided to share Garrett's activity because of the nature of the posts that he liked. "Those posts are what I'm condemning. I don't see how someone could like those or think they are funny," she explained. "That is not a conservative way of thinking. There is no place in this world for that type of hateful post."
She and Carbone agreed that Garrett will ultimately need to explain himself. "There is no excuse for that type of ignorance. I'm not condemning him, because I do think that people can change. I hope that peoples' reaction to this will make him think twice about thinking things like that are funny."
She also defended ABC and show producers for missing the acitvity in its social media vetting, explaining how difficult it is to track what a person likes on Instagram.
After racists tweets by a contestant on Rachel Lindsay's season of The Bachelorette were unearthed while the show aired in 2017, the franchise announced plans to improve its online vetting process for the future. The contestant, Lee Garrett, was eliminated earlier in the season and eventually addressed his posts and behavior during the reunion show at the end of the season. The difference is in that case the offensive posts had been published by Lee to his own Twitter account.