One "Bachelorette" contestant got a crash course this week in how past social media activity can impact the present.
Garrett Yrigoyen, who received the coveted "first impression rose" from Bachelorette Becca Kufrin in Monday night's premiere, issued a mea culpa Thursday for having previously "liked" offensive memes on Instagram.
In a statement posted to his new Instagram page, Yrigoyen noted that he hopes his mistakes can serve as a lesson for those who "mindlessly double tap images, memes and videos on any social media content that could be many things, including hurtful, degrading and dehumanizing."
"I am sorry to those who I offended and I also take full responsibility for my 'likes' on Instagram that were hurtful and offensive," he wrote. "I never realized the power behind a mindless double tap on Instagram and how it bears so much weight on people's lives. I did not mean any harm by any of it. My Instagram 'likes' were not a true reflection of me and my morals."
Earlier this week, the Huffington Post published screenshots of images that Yrigoyen, 29, had "liked" on Instagram, seemingly before he became a public figure. Among the memes that the Reno, Nevada-based medical sales rep double tapped, according to the screenshots, included those mocking feminists, immigrants and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student David Hogg.
"I am not the negative labels people are associated me with. For those who do know me, I am a sincere, genuine, loving, light-hearted [sic], open-minded and non-judgemental [sic] person," Yrigoyen insisted in his statement. "I hope that someday you can get to know the real me and the man that I am.
"I do not want my social media to define who I am, and I will take better care moving forward to support all walks of life," he concluded. "Again, I sincerely apologize and am sorry for any hurt, damage or offensive I may have caused."
On Wednesday, Kufrin, who felt an early connection with Yrigoyen, told "Entertainment Tonight" that this type of controversy is something she'd "confront" any guy with whom she was in a relationship. (It is unknown to which "Bachelorette" suitor she is currently engaged.)
Still, she encouraged "Bachelorette" fans not to pass judgment on Yrigoyen.
"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 ... because that's how I went into this journey," she said. "I did things in the past that I'm sure wasn't the best thing, but I just want people to stay open-minded to everyone."