Chris Harrison’s apology tour is officially underway. In a recent interview with Good Morning America, the longtime host of The Bachelor franchise—who stepped away last month after excusing racist behavior from one of the show’s current contestants—issued an apology to former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay and the show’s Black viewers. He also announced that although he’s stepped away for the time being, he plans to return to the franchise.
“I am an imperfect man, I made a mistake and I own that,” Harrison told GMA host Michael Strahan. “I believe that mistake doesn’t reflect who I am or what I stand for. I am committed to the progress, not just for myself, also for the franchise.”
EXCLUSIVE: “It was a mistake.” #TheBachelor host Chris Harrison apologizes for defending frontrunner Rachael Kirkconnell’s past racist social media posts, telling @michaelstrahan he is an “imperfect man” who is “committed to progress.” https://t.co/OfPBBzGd9s pic.twitter.com/0EgbKV99DV
— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 4, 2021
The show came under fire after photos surfaced of contestant Rachael Kirkconnell attending an Antebellum South-themed party in college. In an Extra interview with former Bachelorette star Rachel Lindsay—the show’s first Black lead—Harrison came to Kirkconnell’s defense, asking viewers to have compassion for her. “She’s celebrating the old South,” Lindsay responded. “If I went to that party, what would I represent?”
Both Harrison and Kirkconnell issued apologies soon after the controversy exploded, with Harrison announcing he would be stepping away from the franchise. On GMA, Harrison doubled down on his apology, walking back his earlier remarks.
“I am saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was in that interview with Rachel Lindsay. I can’t believe I didn’t speak against antebellum parties, what they stand for,” Harrison said. “I didn’t say it then and I want to say it now: those parties are not OK, past, present, future. And I didn’t speak from my heart. And that is to say that I stand against all forms of racism, and I am deeply sorry to Rachel Lindsay and to the Black community.”
Harrison revealed that in his time away, he’s sought council from scholars like Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, who’s impressed upon him the importance of “full accountability.” He also urged Bachelor fans who are trolling and spewing hate toward Lindsay to stop: “It’s unacceptable.”
It’s unclear when Harrison will return to the fold, though he said firmly that “I plan to be back and I want to be back.”
“I think this franchise can be an important beacon of change,” he said. I know that change is felt, not just by me, but by many others. And we are excited and willing to do the work to show that progress.”
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