"Bachelorette" contestant Garrett Yrigoyen may have snagged the "first impression" rose from Becca Kufrin during the Monday night premiere of the hit ABC reality dating show, but the rest of "Bachelorette Nation" wasn't so sure he was the right pick after disturbing reports about Yrigoyen's social media activity began to surface.
The frontrunner, a 29-year-old medical sales rep from Reno, Nevada, came under fire this week after former "Bachelor" contestant Ashley Spivey revealed Yrigoyen recently liked a series of controversial posts on Instagram, including memes that mocked immigrants, Parkland students, transgender people, liberals, among others. His account was deleted shortly after.
"Can we do a better job of social media deep dives on the dudes that try out for #thebachelorette," Spivey tweeted on May 24. "A contestant on this season of #thebachelorette liked all of these posts on Instagram and I’m thinking it will be very hard to pull for the type of person likes any of this."
Dozens of people replied to the appalling screenshots posted by Spivey, who then called on ABC to address the situation before it "gets out of hand." Kufrin commented on the controversy during an interview with Entertainment Tonight on Wednesday.
“I want viewers to be open to everyone, and I want them to go through this season with me and watch my love story unfold with all of these men … because that’s how I went into this journey,” Kufrin said. “I did things in the past that I’m sure wasn’t the best thing, but I just want people to stay open-minded to everyone."
Robert Mills, ABC's senior vice president of alternative series, specials and late-night programming, told Entertainment Tonight in a statement earlier this week that the likes came from an "alleged account" and network oficials were looking into the situation.
"It's likes, it's not things he's actually posted, which are things you actually can't scrub for unless the person has a certain number of followers. ... Obviously we want to know every single possible thing about these contestants," he added.
Yrigoyen took "full responsibility" for the likes late Thursday, apologizing to those he "hurt and offended" with a series of screenshots on his new Instagram account.
"I have learned an extremely valuable lesson and am taking steps to grow, become more educated, and be a better version of myself," he wrote. "I am not perfect ... but now I will always be more informed and aware of what I am liking and supporting, not just on Instagram, but in life."
He continued, "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 it."
Spivey applauded Yrigoyen's apology on Twitter Thursday.
"This is a fantastic apology and statement. I look forward to his growth and education as well as seeing seeing him support all walks of life," she commented.