The Bachelor is still having problems with contestants' pasts. After last year's debacle with The Bachelorette's Lee Garrett, whose social media history was peppered with racist statements, current season contestant Maquel Cooper is facing similar ire online.
A post made to Reddit on Saturday morning highlighted an old Instagram picture of Cooper from November 2012, showing her and two friends in what appears to be brownface — the darkening of skin to appear of a different race, in this case from Caucasian to Hispanic — including drawn-on facial hair while wearing black hoodies.
To clear up any confusion as to what her intention was, the post included the hashtags "#mexicans," "#marco," "#jose," "#louie," "#ugly," and "#pranknight." The post has since been deleted from her account.
In an exclusive statement to TV Guide, Cooper apologized for the photo. "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."
Cooper is presently still a contestant on Arie Luyendyk Jr.'s season of The Bachelor, which debuted Jan. 1.
The post comes just months after ABC president Channing Dungey said the franchise would try to increase its vetting process to make sure these things don't happen in the future.
"I think there were certain elements to Lee — we go through a very complicated vetting process to determine the contestants," Dungey said at last summer's Television Critics Association press tour. "Not everything is apparent right from the beginning, and that's just one of the things we have to look at as we continue to move forward in the future, to maybe continue to strengthen our process of vetting."
"We are disappointed to see this post and glad that Maquel has made a formal apology. We do not condone her behavior," an ABC spokesperson told TV Guide.
On Monday, Luyendyk Jr. responded. "I'm a little disappointed to hear that, obviously," he told TV Guide. "It's unfortunate."
Warner Bros., which produces The Bachelor franchise, is not commenting.
The Bachelor airs Monday nights at 8/7c on ABC.
Additional reporting by Liam Mathews