Garret Yrigoyen, the man Becca Kufrin chose on the season finale of The Bachelorette, was at the center of a controversy early in the season when it was discovered that he'd liked certain posts on Instagram, including one that cruelly mocked undocumented immigrants, liberal women and trans people and one post that posited a conspiracy theory that Parkland shooting survivor and anti-gun activist David Hogg is a crisis actor, a paid spokesman who wasn't actually there but was inserted to further an agenda.
He apologized in a statement on Instagram, writing "I am sorry to those who I offended, and I also take full responsibility for my 'likes' on Instagram that were hurtful and offensive," Garrett wrote on his new Instagram, after deleting his former account. "This is all new to me... 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 any of it. My Instagram 'likes' were not a true reflection of me and my morals."
Since he was still on the show as it was airing at the time, he couldn't give any interviews defending himself, so Becca had to do it for him. She told The Hollywood Reporter at the time that the likes didn't reflect who he really is and that people should give him a chance.
On Monday's season finale, where Garrett made his first public appearance as Becca's fiancé, he basically repeated what he said in his statement from May. "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." He added that he was worried he was going to lose Becca over the controversy, and that he doesn't stand by the posts.
"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." Becca's Twitter header image is an illustration of Joe Biden, so the things Garrett liked go against things she believes in, like equality and feminism.
Neither Garrett nor Becca nor Chris Harrison addressed the actual content of the posts he liked or how Becca and Garrett are reconciling their different beliefs or what Garrett is doing to "grow as a person."
They addressed the controversy further with Michael Strahan on Good Morning America Tuesday morning. Strahan asked him what he's doing to win back Becca (and America's) trust. He said basically the same thing he said on The Bachelorette about how he's sorry and the likes don't reflect his true character. Becca said that they've talked about it and have worked through it and that dealing with the controversy has made them a stronger couple.
On a call with reporters, TV Guide asked Garrett directly if he believes that David Hogg is a crisis actor, and he said he does not. Asked to give an example of something he's learned or something his mind has changed about, he said he now takes the time to look closely at what an Instagram post says before he mindlessly double taps. "I'm reading into things before I'm supporting them," he said.
Asked by another reporter why he was following those right-wing accounts in the first place, he said he was because he's a "patriotic guy and I love my country and I support everybody in the military, and that's why I initially followed them, and that was it."
He was asked about the posts he liked criticizing Colin Kaepernick, the NFL quarterback who started kneeling during the national anthem at games in protest of police brutality and is widely hated by conservatives, and Garrett revealed he knew Kaepernick in college at the University of Nevada, Reno, and that they were friendly. "I always liked Colin Kaepernick in college, and it still stands that way today," he said. Obviously they're not in touch anymore, but personally Garrett likes Kaepernick, though he almost certainly disagrees with his politics.
As for liking the transphobic post, he said, "I'm open-minded to everybody. I grew up in a very open family that was welcoming of everyone and I still stand by that today. I'm open and accepting of everybody."
It doesn't sound like this controversy has led to a political reawakening for Garrett, which is his prerogative. He'll probably remain a sort of reflexive conservative. It also doesn't sound like the posts Garret liked were evidence of deeply-held alt-right beliefs. He's not much of a thinker. And Becca has forgiven him. If she's trying to make him see things differently, she's keeping how she's doing that to herself. They're not ready to get deep about how they make an inter-party relationship work. In the end, though, their differences are for them to work out or not.