Bachelorette contestant Garrett Yrigoyan apologizes for his Instagram history; says cruel and prejudiced likes are "not a true reflection of me and my morals."
Bachelorette Becca Kufrin says "everyone is entitled to their own opinions."
WTF is ABC casting doing with all this nonsense?
It took only a couple of days after ABC's official announcement of the 28 men competing on this year's Bachelorette - although, to be fair, Reality Steve had spoiled most of them weeks prior - for some hella problematic details regarding one of the frontrunners to emerge.
Garrett Yrigoyan, a 29-year-old medical sales rep from Nevada, has already cemented himself as one of Bachelorette Becca Kufrin's faves - he won the first impression rose and, well, click ~this link~ if you want to be spoiled on how he does in the competition as a whole. (Seriously though, it spoils EVERYTHING!)
Yrigoyan has also cemented himself as this season's clusterfuck because, as a HuffPost report revealed, prior to being cast on the show he liked a whole host of cruel and prejudiced Instagram memes - from those mocking immigrants to those mocking the LGBTQ community to those mocking "liberal women," and I could even go on with this list of bigotry, which is very unfortunate. (Kufrin, incidentally, is believed to have voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and later attended the 2017 Women's March.)
At first, Yrigoyan attempted to wash his hands of the ensuing controversy - he appeared to have made a new Instagram account after production on the show finished, and in a post on May 27 he wrote that his old one "got hacked."
But nope, it wasn't! On Thursday night, he shared an apology on another new account being widely reported as authentic, taking "full responsibility" for the likes and the assholery they represent:
A post shared by Garrett Yrigoyen GY (@gy_yrigoyen) on May 31, 2018 at 4:22pm PDT
The statement in full, because it's a four-page-long Insta carousel note, woof:
To those who I have hurt and offended:
This is all new to me. I went on the Bachelorette for the adventure and possibility of falling in love, not fame. I did not know what to expect once the show aired.
I am sorry to those who I offended, and I also take full responsibility for my "likes" on Instagram that were hurtful and offensive. garrett_yrigs12 was my former Instagram handle and I decided to take it down and start fresh because I have learned an extremely valuable lesson and am taking steps to grow, become more educated, and be a better version of myself. I am not perfect, and I will never be anywhere close, but now I will always be more informed and aware of what I am liking and supporting, not just on Instagram, but in life.
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.
I am not the negative labels people are associating me with. For those who do know me, I am a sincere, genuine, loving, light-hearted, open minded and non-judgmental individual. I like to make new friends with anyone I need and want everyone to find their happiness. I love to laugh often and enjoy seeing others do the same. I hope that some day you can get to know the real me and the man that I am.
Let my mistakes be 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 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. Again, I sincerely apologize and am sorry for any hurt, damage, or offense I may have caused.
As an Insta mea culpa goes, it could be worse! But it could certainly be a lot better - claims that he is "non-judgmental" and "wants everyone to find their happiness" seem to be in pretty direct contrast with the attitudes displayed in the memes he responded to.
The second chance Yrigoyan asks for is often not afforded to the minorities and other groups he so "mindlessly" critiqued online. Should a 29 year-old man, in 2018, really need Bachelor Nation calling out his bigotry online to make the change he purports to be making?! (The answer is no, and you know what, even if the answer is yes, that hardly makes him a hot prospect ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) And while, sure, social media can be "mindless," a "like" is unfiltered, and thus reflective of the real deal; revealing more truthful of Yrigoyan and his "morals" than he seems to want to accept.
Anyway, here's at least one of his castmates - 29 year-old Wills - in the comments throwing him some love, so there's that?
(This post will be updated to include further statements from other Bachelorette guys if/as they pop up.)
Kufrin, meanwhile, has also been speaking out about Yrigoyan's comments in recent interviews. At first, she told E! that she got to know the men on the show better without social-media stalking than she would have if she'd been able to dig deep in their RTs. (IDK about that Becca, because case in point: this.) And she told Entertainment Tonight that she "[wants] viewers to be open to everyone," while adding that she would address issues with her menfolk as she became aware of them.
"I can't fault anyone for what they believe, and who's to say that anyone is truly what they believe in if they just double tap," she continued. "I am a strong woman and I do believe in certain things, but again, that's what's so great about our country - everyone is entitled to their own opinions."
Kufrin has not offered any comment since Yrigoyan confirmed the Insta sitch, but still, you absolutely can fault someone for their beliefs when said beliefs are flat-out nasty and/or out of alignment with your own, and maybe you should. Hell, if there's any context in which to do so, it's while you're searching for a would-be soulmate. That's literally how compatibility works! (And to be clear, this isn't even just about political differences, messy as those are in today's climate - Yrigoyan's "likes" go beyond that.) Also also, maybe everyone is entitled to change their opinions when they realize their (potential) fiancé is a flop? Just putting that one out there.
Oh, and one last note: In the apology, Yrigoyan also claims he didn't know "what to expect once the show aired" - and this is a weak-sauce excuse, let's be clear, because reality TV is not a new construct at this point. But it also does suggest that Bachelorette producers are falling short (quelle surprise!) in their vetting of contestants. ABC's senior vice president Robert Mills recently told Entertainment Tonight that the show's casting team "made a really really big effort to make sure things like [last year's Lee Garrett debacle] don't happen," for example.
How's that working out, then?! Not well! Mills also said the show would try to "scrub" problematic social-media content from contestants' feeds rather than, you know, not feature bad people. So...yeah. More from his ET interview:
Obviously, we want to know every single possible thing about these contestants. So we're working harder. I mean, it is such a new frontier, social media, and I think it's important for us to really be on top of this stuff, and certainly, we never want a situation like what happened last year with Lee to ever happen again... We are here telling everybody we are putting the best men and women forward for the lead to date, so I think we want to make sure we are absolutely doing that.
Suffice to say then the job Mills thinks/wants to be happening is not actually happening. And this time around, it's a worse mess, too, because that lack of quality control means it's not even just the #problematicbae who's likely to get burned.
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