Maquel Cooper, a contestant on the new season of The Bachelor, has come under fire for posting a photo that some perceived to be racially insensitive.
A Reddit user posted a throwback photo of Cooper from her Instagram account in which she posed with two friends with brown makeup and mustaches with a caption that read, “Maquelle, maybe before considering yourself a ‘public figure’ on instagram, look back at your old posts to make sure you don’t come across as a racist.”
The pic, uploaded to the Utah native’s account in 2012 and since deleted, was captioned, “Insane night. #tbt #marco #jose @louie #ugly #pranknight #bff #mexicans #baileywoolley #reesehigbee.”
Fans quickly flocked to the site to express their outrage. One Reddit user wrote, “Wowwwww. She clearly sees zero problems with appropriating Mexican culture and mocking Mexican people. How is she that oblivious? And how did the producers not notice that s—t and say something before all of us found it,” before adding, “It just seems sooo sloppy to me and I’m seriously not sure how it’s still up there. I just don’t understand how that first picture made it past the customary social media scrub, even if it’s 5 years old lol. Like, even if the producers aren’t inclined to give a s—t, I feel like one of her friends or someone should have pointed out how f—ked up it was.”
Another commented, “Producers- strike two. No way they can say they didn’t see her social media after Lee.” The Reddit user was referring to former Bachelorette contestant Lee Garrett, whose offensive 2015 and 2016 comments resurfaced, prompting many fans of the franchise to label him a racist.
In a statement to TV Guide, Cooper apologized, saying, “Five years ago, I made a regretful choice for a costume. It came at a time when I was unenlightened and uninformed. I apologize to anybody who was offended by my choices. I am sorry for what I did and take full responsibility for my mistake.”
The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
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