Katie Thurston is speaking out about her recent Instagram post.
The new Bachelorette took to Instagram on May 11 to share a picture of her receiving a kiss from Casandra Suarez. Per screenshots captured by TV Shows Ace, the photo appeared to show Casandra giving Katie a smooch on the neck. The reality stars, who both appeared on Matt James' season of The Bachelor, sat in front of a neon sign that read "GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS."
Katie reportedly captioned the photo, "Whatever floats your boat" with a purple heart emoji. Casandra also allegedly wrote in the comments section, "So did Katie actually end up with me, yes or no?"
Soon, fans started wondering if Katie was revealing something about her sexuality. However, the reality TV star noted this wasn't the case.
"I did not intend for this picture to be a statement about my sexuality," she replied, per the screenshots. "This is simply a friendship post. I've never spoken publicly about my sexuality nor am I doing so with this picture. Nothing but love for everyone."
Soon, followers accused Katie of "queerbaiting," and she deleted the entire post.
But later in the day, she returned to Instagram to issue an apology.
"To my followers," Katie began. "I've removed my most recent post after realizing how many people from the LGBTQ+ I hurt. I am so sorry. I've read the comments and better understand why my post was offensive. Will continue to learn from my mistakes. I want to always be an ally and today I'm sorry I let you down."
Michelle Young, who also appeared on James' season, will then be the lead for season 18.