Blake Horstmann, who opened up about surviving a school shooting during his hometown date on The Bachelorette, recently discussed winner Garrett Yrigoyen “liking” a meme that implied the Parkland, Florida, school shooting was a conspiracy.
“That’s not the Garrett I knew in the house,” Blake told reporters during a conference call on Tuesday, August 7. “I’m sure he will learn from all of this and I trust Becca, I trust her decision and I trust her character.”
He added: “I have not had the chance to talk to him, no, we have not communicated, since, you know, early in the journey. … Maybe there will be a time in the future, but as of now, no. I’ll let them have their moment.”
Bachelorette Becca Kufrin got engaged to Garrett during the Monday, August 6, finale of ABC dating series. After Becca gave her now-fiancé the first impression rose during the May premiere, Garrett made headlines for “liking” a series of controversial memes on Instagram, including one that claimed Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School student David Hogg was a crisis actor.
Garrett apologized for his actions in a lengthy statement on Instagram at the time. He also acknowledged he made a mistake during The Bachelorette: After the Final Rose special and during the Tuesday conference call.
When asked if he has reached out to Hogg since the scandal broke, Garrett told reporters “no” and clarified that he does not believe the student is actually an actor.
“I just issued that apology on my Instagram and I stand by everything I said on there,” he explained. I’m just trying to grow and be a better person. I know I’ve made some mistakes and I recognized those mistakes and I’m just trying to be better and move forward, but I apology and I’m sorry to anyone that I hurt or offended. … I don’t believe David Hogg is a crisis actor, no, I don’t.”
Garrett added: “I’m starting to read the posts now and going from there, whereas before I would kind of just scroll through and double tap the images. So now I’m reading into things before I’m supporting them.”
Blake, meanwhile, held back tears during the July 16 episode of The Bachelorette as he opened up about a school shooting during his senior year.
“It was really hard because I was a senior, my sister was a freshman, and my mom worked at the school, so we were all in this building when it all happened. It was a complete stranger. He just happened to be camping in the area and obviously had some mental issues,” Blake explained. “There was some real fear, obviously. We really didn’t know at that time what was going on, and we started stacking desks and hiding behind desks and chairs. Finally, the SWAT team came in and they slid their badge under the door and escorted us out. Unfortunately, one student did lose her life. It just changed my outlook on life, and I wanted you to know why it’s important to me to be positive and to see life as a gift.”
Becca, for her part, has stood by her decision to choose Garrett amid the backlash of the scandal.
“I got to see who he is — his heart, his soul,” the publicist said during After the Final Rose. “And the Instagram situation, I don’t condone that, and 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.”
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