Matt James breaks silence on 'Bachelor' racism controversy

James, the reality franchise's first-ever Black male lead, spoke out about the controversy regarding finalist Rachael Kirkconnell, host Chris Harrison and former 'Bachelorette' Rachel Lindsay.
4:13 | 02/23/21

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Transcript for Matt James breaks silence on 'Bachelor' racism controversy
We are going to continue with the bachelor speaking about the show's issues with race and host Chris Harrison's comments. Matt James calling those words, quote, troubling and painful. T.J., tell us more. You know what else he said, he said "The bachelor" franchise has fallen short for years on issues of race and breaking his silence and did it hours before the new episode of "The bachelor" aired last night and while the producers of the show remain silent about the racial controversy, you can hear it in Matt James' statement. His frustration and that there's plenty of disappointment to go around. The first ever black bachelor in the 20-year history of the show is now openly criticizing "The bachelor" franchise on the issue of race. Matt James calls the past few weeks some of the those challenging of his life speaking for the first time about the controversy surrounding contestant Rachael Kirkconnell and host Chris Harrison writing on Instagram just before last night's episode it has been devastating and heartbreaking to put it bluntly. Many Kirkconnell in the final three apologized after she had liked photos with a confederate flag in them and after pictures of her at an antebellum themed college party three years ago went viral. James described them as incredibling disappointing. Harrison immediately came to her defense. It's not a good look. No, well, Rachel, is it a good look in 2018 or not a good look in 2021. Reporter: Characterizing Kirkconnell as a victim of the, quote, woke police in an interview with Rachel Lindsay who in 2017 was the first ever black bachelorette. It's not a good look ever, because she's celebrating the old south. If I went to that party, what would I represent at that party? My guess, these girls got dressed up and went to a party and had a great time, they were does it make it okay, I don't know, Rachel, you tell me but where can this lens we're holding up and was it available and were we all looking through it in 2018? Reporter: Harrison later apologized announcing he's stepping aside from the Fran clies for a period. Time but James write Chris' failure to receive and understand the emotional labor that my friend Rachel Lindsay was taking on by graciously and explaining patiently the racist history of the antebellum was troubling and painful to watch, a clear reflection of a much larger issue that "The bachelor" franchise has fallen short on addressing adequately for years. Andi Dorfman, Kaitlyn Bristow and tayshia Adams weighing in too. It's long dealt with a lack of diversity and faced a class action lawsuit claiming it discriminates against people of color. I think what's hard is we are all linked and attached to this franchise and you don't want to be attached to something that seems to be so problematic when there seems to be so much that still needs to be done. Reporter: James says he's been pushed to re-evaluate and process what my experience on "The bachelor" represents saying, I'll continue to process this experience and you will hear more from me in the end. He goes on to say, guys, in his statement he wants this to spark conversation. This is a history, this antebellum history people should understand and some don't understand that an antebellum party can represent and glorify the same thing as a confederate flag to a lot of people and so if that sparks a conversation and moves it forward then fine. Now, as far as the episodes go Chris Harrison, of course, taped months ago so he will continue to be part of the show as it continues but the show has not made a statement during the episodes that aired live so far. How Rachel Lindsay, how well she handled that and when Chris Harrison was being so dismissive, I think it's not just what he said but the manner in which he was saying it that was quite disturbing to many. She brought it home by saying, you went to that party, you could go. What if I went, Rachel Lindsay, to that party, what would I be? Maybe it brought it home for people who didn't understand so the conversations continue and "The bachelor" is helping us in this racial reckoning. His statement was right on point too. Appreciate it. Now to the independent investigation into the death of Elijah Mcclain who died three

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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