“I wholeheartedly apologize for the insensitive photo of me in blackface from my high school yearbook that has been circulating,” the New Jersey native, 29, wrote via Instagram on Thursday, September 8, alongside the photo of a black square. “What I thought at the time was a representation of my love for Jimi Hendrix, was nothing but ignorance. I was naïve to the hurtful implications of my actions to the Black community and those closest to me, and will forever regret my offensive and damaging behavior.”
Erich concluded his post by noting, “I am deeply ashamed by my actions and understand that my apology is only the first step in taking accountability.”
Hours before his social media apology, fans of The Bachelorette started circulating a photo online of the season 19 contestant wearing blackface in his high school yearbook.
“Bachelorette is gonna be a joke if they bring up Nate and his two girlfriends and not Erich doing blackface on a YEARBOOK,” one fan wrote on Twitter, referring to another season 19 contestant Nate Mitchell. Another added, “What’s this I’m hearing about Erich in blackface? He has a mullet I know we ain’t acting surprised.”
A Bachelor Nation fan account also claimed that Erich was “blocking anyone calling him out on his racism and deleting comments and untagging himself” even following his apology. “Erich is still blocking people and deleting comments saying it was racist even after his fake ‘apology’ where he never said what he did was racist but instead blamed Jimi Hendrix for him wearing blackface. Enough is enough,” they wrote.
As of the Tuesday, September 6, episode of The Bachelorette, Erich is Gabby Windey‘s last man standing. After getting the first overnight date, Erich told Gabby his feelings about her date with the other two remaining suitors — Johnny DePhillipo and Jason Alabaster.
“Our last date — the day part was amazing. The night part, I couldn’t imagine that going any better,” Erich expressed to Gabby in the episode. “And I’m now sitting here picturing the girl that I’m in love with doing that with somebody else, like, that kind of crushes me.”
However, she sent Johnny and Jason home and expressed her love for Erich.
Can’t wait until the finale for more Bachelorette spoilers? No worries, we’ve got you covered. See more about, who are and who are. Plus, check out if , who and who she picks for . You can also check out for more updates on the drama throughout the season!