Colton Underwood’s time as the resident Bachelor has yet to officially begin, and already the season has a major controversy on its hands. A day after the new cast was announced by ABC, Bachelor Nation fans found a slew of offensive tweets from hopeful Tracy Shapoff — including remarks that were racist, fat-shaming, ableist and more.
On Friday, Shapoff acknowledged the tweets and apologized for her comments.
“I want to start by expressing my sincerest apologies for the extremely hurtful words that I said many years ago. I’m so sorry for those who I have offended. I am beyond mortified that I ever had those thoughts and then proceeded to express them,” she wrote on Instagram. “By no means does this reflect the person who I am today. To the people who do not know me, I am a loving, kind, thoughtful, generous and compassionate woman. I am not mean-hearted or hurtful.”
She then segued from an apology to a justification of character: “The people I have always surrounded myself with are very diverse and come from all over the world. I have a huge heart and a very open mind. In the many years since writing these tweets, I have made a conscious effort not to be judgmental and to be accepting of all people.”
According to Shapoff, in her career as a wardrobe stylist, she helps women and men have “positive imagines of themselves, their bodies, and feel beautiful in who they are.” She noted, “It is the most rewarding feeling being able to work in such a diverse field. It shows me the beauty in all people and I am so lucky to have this opportunity.”
Before signing off the message, Shapoff said she does not defend the offensive remarks she made in 2010 and that she just wants to “deeply apologize and learn from my mistakes.”
This isn’t the first social media scandal ABC has dealt with in recent years.
Last year on Becca Kufrin’s season of The Bachelorette, eventual winner Garrett Yrigoyen came under fire for “liking” posts on Instagram that made offensive jokes about the trans community, the Parkland shooting survivors, feminists and more.
Like Shapoff, he apologized when confronted about his social media activity.
On Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette, a similar scandal occurred when contestant Lee Garrett’s Twitter feed turned out to be full of racist remarks. He also apologized and took responsibility for his words.
One would think that by now, ABC would do a deeper dive into potential contestants’ social media histories prior to casting. However, they don’t appear to be doing so, and we imagine Shapoff won’t be the last social media scandal to come out of Bachelor Nation.
The Bachelor returns to ABC on Monday, Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT for a three-hour live premiere. (Yes, three hours!)