Garrett Yrigoyen Responds After Bekah Martinez Slams Him for Supporting Cops amid Protests
"We all need to have more conversations before labeling, belittling, attacking, judging, etc.," said the Bachelorette star
On Thursday, Yrigoyen, who got engaged to The Bachelorette's Becca Kufrin in 2018, posted a lengthy statement on Instagram expressing his support for law enforcement. The post came days after Yrigoyen participated in #BlackOutTuesday, an initiative across social media to focus attention on racial inequality after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed while in Minneapolis police custody last week.
Yrigoyen, 31, began by stating that he has been "pretty tore [sic] up the past week about everything going on."
"I've listened, learned, helped, supported, and grown. With so many friends and family in law enforcement I couldn't sit back and not support them and the hundreds of thousands of men and women of all races that represent this Thin Blue Line as well," he wrote. "It's important for me to recognize the ones who stand in the gap and put their lives on the line each and every single day for humans of different race and ethnicity, including those who hate them."
Yrigoyen claimed cops are "suffering the consequences over an act they didn't commit," staying silent "while being threatened, hated, and assaulted."
"We can't judge an entire group of people by the actions of a few. We can't judge the peaceful protesters by the actions of the few violent protesters, and we sure can't judge all cops by the actions of a few bad ones," he wrote. "Remember when they put on the badge they're still humans, with raw emotion, the more brutality they face the more on edge they become, they make mistakes, they have compassion, and no matter how terrible they are treated or whatever negative is said to them, they still show up for us when we need them! Remember these men and women who hold this Thin Blue Line; strangers, friends, family, neighbors, or your enemies. They will always be out there protecting us, no matter what!"
In 2018, Yrigoyen came under fire for previously liking a number of highly inflammatory Instagram posts, including some that were racist and homophobic. He apologized at the time, both in a statement when the initial news broke and again on After the Final Rose, where he said that his openly liberal fiancée Kufrin had "helped me through everything."
Martinez, who competed on Arie Luyendyk Jr.'s season of The Bachelor alongside Kufrin, slammed Yrigoyen's Thursday post in the comments, writing, "You've made your views known before and here's a great reminder that not much has changed."
"Law enforcement CHOOSES to put on a blue uniform," she wrote. "Black people don't choose to be black. Big difference. Also 'the more brutality they face the more on edge they become'...that's scary as f---. Wow wow wow. So interesting that you stay silent about black lives but just HAVE to speak out about cops."
She also spoke out on her own Instagram page, posting a photo of a "Thin Blue Line" flag being flushed down the toilet.
"BLUE LIVES ARE NOT A THING," she wrote. "Here's the thing: being black is not a uniform you can remove on your days off, it definitely does not protect you from the justice system, it is not something you get PAID to be, and it is most certainly not something you can quit or retire from. STOP COMPARING THE EXPERIENCE OF A CHOSEN CAREER TO THE EXPERIENCE OF BEING BLACK."
"You can love a cop, marry a cop, have a brother who's a cop...and you can still hate the Blue Lives Matter movement and what it represents," she added. "You can choose to support cops AND understand that the 'thin blue line' flag now represents and signals BLUE LIVES MATTER to the majority of the population."
She continued in the comments of her post, writing, "that flag means so much more than just 'I respect and honor our first responders!' and you all know it."
"You know EXACTLY what the subtext is when someone flies that flag on their car or home," she continued. "You KNOW it is in direct opposition to Black Lives Matter, regardless of whatever it was originally intended to represent. THAT'S why it's in the toilet, not because I hate cops or don't think their lives matter."
Yrigoyen responded to Martinez's criticism on Friday, posting a screenshot of her comment on his post to his Instagram Story.
"I remember you saying how much you loved me to Becca and you made a mistake for judging me in the past without knowing me...needless to say you never got to know me, still don't know me, and you're no longer invited over," he wrote. "P.S. I was advised to not post my caption with my black square...as I had written a message about peace, racism, and change...because I believe BLM is important, I still got ridiculed. I'm also showing my love & support for others at this time as well, and still get ridiculed. Doesn't make me a racist nor does it take away from BLM. Try having conversations with people before judging and labeling. Love to all."
He also posted a screenshot of his direct message exchange with Martinez after she responded to the Instagram Story.
"Lmao definitely not my words," Martinez wrote. "I said 'tell garrett I'm sorry I gave him so much s---' and at the time I meant it because I thought you actually cared about changing."
"What is wrong with supporting Black Lives and Cops at the same time?" Yriygoyen wrote back. "I have grown and become more educated in the past two years. If you saying by me posting that and supporting everyone isn't change...then what about you jumping to conclusions and running your thumbs on my page, AGAIN, has changed?"
"Conversations [over] everything," he added. "We all need to have more conversations before labeling, belittling, attacking, judging, etc...it's easy to type, it's hard to confront under control."
Kufrin, for her part, has not yet publicly addressed Yrigoyen's "Thin Blue Line" post or the backlash he's received. On Thursday night, she posted on her Instagram Story that she would be recording an episode of the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast with co-host Rachel Lindsay, the franchise's only black lead.
"For all the DMs I'm getting...tomorrow @therachlindsay and I will hit the podcast to discuss our country's current state, viewpoints, and how we can all move forward to implement change," she wrote. "This is one of the episodes I've looked most forward to, and one that is the most needed."
On Friday, she added, "Many conversations are being had, between friends, family members, Garrett and podcast crew alike. Because I'm silent on IG right now doesn't mean I'm silent in my life."
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
- ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
- National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.