Shortly after TV viewers saw Becca Kufrin and Garrett Yrigoyen joyously celebrate their new engagement on “The Bachelorette” season finale, the episode got a bit more serious.
“How have the last two and a half months been on you guys?” host Chris Harrison asked, referring to the time between the filming of Garrett’s proposal and when it actually aired Monday night. It sounded like a softball question, but really, he was teeing up a rather uncomfortable moment.
Becca looked over at Garrett expectantly. “You know, I’ll just take the time now,” Garrett said, and started to explain: “Some stuff came out about my social media.”
Despite an entire segment that followed about this topic, the show didn’t explain what Garrett meant with “stuff” — which is a pretty crucial detail.
The backstory, if you missed it: Right after “The Bachelorette” premiered in May, a former “Bachelor” contestant revealed that Garrett had “liked” posts on Instagram that made fun of transgender people; mocked feminists; claimed Parkland, Fla., school shooting survivor David Hogg was a crisis actor; and joked about throwing an immigrant child over the border.
This became quite the controversy online and nearly overshadowed the actual show. Garrett deleted his Instagram account and released a long statement that apologized for “mindlessly tapping” on “hurtful, degrading, and dehumanizing” posts. Becca gave multiple interviews and asked viewers to “stay open” and hold off on judging Garrett. Many correctly assumed this reaction meant that Garrett would win, as it’s rare for contestants to address off-screen drama while the season is airing.
Sitting down with Harrison during the live finale, Garrett reiterated some of what he already said in his first statement.
“I didn’t realize the effect behind a double tap or a like on Instagram. So I put out an apology. I didn’t mean to offend anybody, I apologize for that still,” Garrett said. “I didn’t mean to hurt anybody’s feelings or do anything like that. So I stand by everything that I posted in my apology, and I’m just trying to grow as a person, be a better person on a daily basis.”
Another detail left out of this segment? Becca is a Hillary Clinton supporter who participated in the Women’s March, so she presumably had some thoughts on Garrett’s Instagram activity. But Becca defended her fiance, saying that she got to know him on the show without phones or social media, so “I got to see who he is, his heart, his soul.”
“The Instagram situation, I don’t condone that,” Becca said. “I know he stands by his apology, and he feels so bad for everyone that he did offend. And, you know, he didn’t mean it. But I just want to move forward and to learn and to grow and to continue to educate ourselves.”
Harrison pressed Garrett on whether he thought Becca might break up with him after the Instagram situation became public. Garrett admitted it crossed his mind.
“But I feel like she knew who I was as a person, and that I didn’t stand by those likes; and that I was a better person than I was presenting on my social media,” Garrett said.
They both agreed it made them stronger as a couple, though they were upset by some of the “really negative things” that people had said about Garrett online.
“It was tough because it wasn’t just affecting me, but it was affecting her,” Garrett said. “There was countless amount of people reaching out to my family, to my friends, and trying to get to the bottom of who I was as a person and attacking my character.”
Harrison empathized, saying that because it happened during the season, Garrett couldn’t defend himself from the people “attacking” him.
“That’s the hardest part, is having to read those things being said about him and getting backlash for both of us,” Becca added. “It’s been tough. And I couldn’t say, ‘Hey, this is my man. I have his back.’ Because I can’t give away the ending.”
As they continued to discuss the incident, the specific content of Garrett’s Instagram activity never came up. It’s not exactly surprising that the show would stay vague about this particular controversy, though it did leave some viewers confused. (Sample tweets: “Wait, what did Garrett like on Instagram that he had to issue an apology???” “Hold up hold up… what did Garrett like/say on instagram?!?” “My mom just called me to ask what Garrett did on Instagram.”)
In the end, Harrison pointed out that this is their first public appearance, and they can count on plenty of future interviews asking these same questions. Garrett repeated that he can only move forward and not make the same mistakes.
“He went through the entire season being open and transparent,” Becca concluded. “And we’re just going to continue that.”