Bachelor Nation is divided after Garrett Yrigoyen posted a statement in support of "Thin Blue Line," a phrase used in association with Blue Lives Matter countermovement.
In a lengthy statement, the 31-year-old expressed that he stands in solidarity with the "hundreds of thousands of men and women of all races that represent this Thin Blue Line." He explained, "It's important for me to recognize the ones who stand in the gap and put their lives on the line each and every single day for humans of different race and ethnicity, including those who hate them. The Thin Blue Line represents each officer protecting protestors, properties, and businesses while being threatened, attacked, shot, shot at, hit with vehicles, and other forms of brutality."
The star, who is engaged to former Bachelorette Becca Kufrin, added that he's sympathizes with the "over 300 [law enforcement officers] injured, shot, or killed in just one week." According to a NBC News report, numerous law enforcement officers have suffered injuries during protests. Despite Garrett's suggestion, which he did not provide sourcing for, the rate of police injuries or fatalities is not publicly clear.
"They continue to put in overtime away from their families, stay silent while being threatened, hated, and assaulted. We can't judge an entire group of people by the actions of a few. We can't judge the peaceful protesters by the actions of the few violent protesters, and we sure can't judge all cops by the actions of a few bad ones," Ygrigoyen continued. "Remember when they put on the badge they're still humans, with raw emotion, the more brutality they face the more on edge they become, they make mistakes, they have compassion, and no matter how terrible they are treated or whatever negative is said to them, they still show up for us when we need them!"
He concluded his message by imploring his followers to "remember" the law enforcement officers across the country.
His post drew ire from numerous people, including fellow Bachelor Nation members including Bekah Martinez, Nick Viall and Kendall Long among others.
"Uhhhhh law enforcement CHOOSES to put on a blue uniform. Black people don't choose to be black. big difference. also "the more police brutality they face the more on edge they become".... that's scary as f--k," Bekah commented. She also wrote "it's interesting" that Garrett was "silent" when he posted a plain back square, referencing Black Out Tuesday, but voiced his support for cops.
"You've made your views known before and here's a great reminder that not much has changed," she stated.
The situation escalated when Garrett responded to Bekah's criticism on his Instagram Story. In the post, he screenshotted Bekah's comment and wrote, "I remember you saying how much you loved me to Becca and that you made a mistake for judging me in the past without knowing me... Needless to say you never got to know me, still don't know me and you're no longer invited over."
Yrigoyen also explained that he was "advised to not caption" his black square, but insisted that it "doesn't make me a racist nor does it take away" from the Black Lives Matter movement.
Without directly mentioning Garrett, Bekah expanded on her stance in a separate Instagram post.
"Here's the thing: being black is not a uniform you can remove on your days off, it definitely does not protect you from the justice system, it is not something you get PAID to be, and it is most certainly not something you can quit or retire from," she reasoned. "STOP COMPARING THE EXPERIENCE OF A CHOSEN CAREER TO THE EXPERIENCE OF BEING BLACK. You can love a cop, marry a cop, have a brother who's a cop...and you can still hate the Blue Lives Matter movement and what it represents. you can choose to support cops AND understand that the 'thin blue line' flag now represents and signals BLUE LIVES MATTER to the majority of the population."
In the comments section, Bekah clarified that she doesn't "hate cops or don't think their lives matter," but she believes the Thin Blue Line flag "is in direct opposition to Black Lives Matter, regardless of whatever it was originally intended to represent."
As her final say on the matter, Bekah revealed she made a $1,000 donation to the National Police Accountability Project in Garrett's name.
The back and forth between Garrett and Bekah has seemingly stopped for the time being, but his fiancée Becca announced on her Instagram Story that she would address the controversy on the next episode of Bachelor Happy Hour with Rachel Lindsay.
In addition, she stated that she's having "many conversations" behind the scenes. "Because I'm silent on my IG right now doesn't mean I'm silent in my life," Becca wrote.
In 2018, Becca and Garrett's relationship was thrust into the spotlight when Bachelor contestant Ashley Spivey posted screenshots that suggested Garrett liked several offensive posts, including some that mock Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg and the trans community. He apologized for his actions and explained that he didn't realize "the effect of a double tap or like on Instagram," but hoped Becca would understand.
Then, as it was revealed that Becca accepted a proposal from Garrett, the couple shared they were working through the controversy together. "The Instagram situation, I don't condone that," Becca said at the time. "I know that he stands by his apology and he feels so bad for everyone that he did offend, and he didn't mean it, but I just want to move forward and to learn and to grow, and to continue to educate ourselves, and that's all you can ask for in another person, is that somebody who recognizes if they make a mistake and do something wrong, and want to learn and grow from it, and that's what he's shown me."