Chris Harrison is owning up to his controversial comments from last month’s Rachel Lindsay interview. The Bachelor host, who’s come under fire in recent weeks for defensive remarks he made to the franchise’s single Black Bachelorette, appeared on Good Morning America to discuss his now infamous conversation with Lindsay. In an interview this morning with GMA, Harrison admitted that he’s an “imperfect man” who “made a mistake” in jumping to defend contestant Rachael Kirkconnell and her racist social media posts from the past few years.
“I believe that mistake doesn’t reflect who I am or what I stand for,” he told GMA host Michael Strahan. “I am committed to progress, not just for myself, also for the franchise. And this is a franchise that has been a part of my life for the better part of 20 years and I love it.”
While Harrison has been a Bachelor staple for decades, the longtime host stepped away from his duties last month after asking for people to give Kirkconnell “grace” and suggesting she was a victim of “cancel culture.” During his interview with Lindsay, Harrison also defended Kirkconnell’s photos of herself attending an Old South antebellum party. When the former Bachelorette insisted it “wasn’t a good look” to recreate and celebrate that period in time, Harrison replied, “Well, Rachel, is it a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021? Because there’s a big difference.”
Now, he admits that his response wasn’t acceptable, and the photos would have been just as harmful three years ago as they are today. “Antebellum parties are not OK,” he told Strahan. “Past, present, future, knowing what that represents is unacceptable.”
Since the interview aired, Harrison has apologized to Lindsay — who said Harrison “talked over” her in the interview and “never gave me room to talk” — but the Bachelorette star has been the target of online bullying and even deactivated her Instagram as a result. “”I am saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was in that interview with Rachel Lindsay,” Harrison reflected. “I can’t believe I didn’t speak against antebellum parties, what they stand for. 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,” he said, urging, “To anyone who is throwing hate towards Rachel Lindsay, please stop. It’s unacceptable.”
Harrison says he’s been educating himself on the issue of race since the interview, seeking out “leading scholars, teachers, [and] faith leaders,” including Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. “I’ve also been working closely with a race educator and strategist. I thank them all,” he said.
Despite speculation he could be leaving the franchise for good, Harrison says he hopes to return to the Bachelor shows, which also include Bachelor in Paradise, The Bachelor Winter Games and The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart. “I plan to be back and I want to be back,” he said. “And I think this franchise can be an important beacon of change. 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.”
Watch Harrison’s full interview with Strahan on the GMA website.
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