'Bachelor' Contestant Maquel Cooper Apologizes For Racially Insensitive Brownface Pic

Cooper posted the offensive photo in 2012.

The 22nd season of The Bachelor may have just begun, but the show is already dealing with its first scandal of the year.

23-year-old Maquel Cooper will be competing against 28 other women to win the affection of Arie Luyendyk Jr. this season, but it's not her chances of winning that fans are discussing online. Over the weekend, a reddit user posted a 2012 photo of Cooper posing in what looks to be brownface, Us Weekly reports. The post, which included hashtags like "mexicans" and "ugly," showed Cooper and two unidentified friends posing in brownface with drawn-on eyebrows and facial hair.

"Insane night. #tbt #marco #jose @louie #ugly #pranknight #bff #mexicans #baileywoolley #reesehigbee," reads the full caption. The post has since been deleted from Cooper's Instagram account.

"I don't care how long ago or not long ago it was," wrote one fan on reddit. "If you're an adult who is racist you suck and I've lost any sense of respect for you. There are no excuses for racism."

"Wtf is wrong with people?" wrote another.

Cooper apologized for the photo in a statement to TV Guide on Saturday.

"Five years ago, I made a regretful choice for a costume," it reads. "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."

A spokesperson for ABC echoed her sentiment, telling TV Guide, "We are disappointed to see this post and glad that Maquel has made a formal apology. We do not condone her behavior."

This isn't the first time the Bachelor franchise has dealt with controversy; last year, former Bachelorette contestant Lee Garrett was dealt a ton of backlash after fans discovered his years-old tweets comparing the NAACP to the KKK.

[Photo: ABC.com]

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