Chris Harrison spoke out for the first time since stepping away from The Bachelor franchise last month.
Chris Harrison apologized to Rachel Lindsay again during GMA interview. Michael Strahan felt his pushback on racism only scratched the surface
In an interview with Good Morning America co-host Michael Strahan, the embattled host addressed the comments he made defending current Bachelor contestant and front-runner Rachael Kirkconnell, whose past racist social media posts showed her “liking” racists posts, including a Confederate flag, and photos from an antebellum plantation themed party she attended in 2018.
It’s worth noting that Good Morning America and The Bachelor are both Disney properties. Next week, The Bachelor results will be revealed, and the new Bachelorette will be announced. Typically, The Bachelorette begins taping soon after. Chris spoke during the GMA interview as if he were getting all the apologies and talking points out of the way before he finally gets back to work with the Bachelor franchise. He’s been the face of the series since it began 20 years ago.
Refreshingly, Strahan asked tough questions. And Chris had his talking points all in a row.
Chris admits he made mistakes, insists he’s committed to progress
“I am an imperfect man, I made a mistake and I own that,” Chris told GMA. “I believe that mistake doesn’t reflect who I am or what I stand for. 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.”
Chris got into trouble after an Extra interview with Rachel Lindsay, the first Black Bachelorette, where he basically spent the entire interview spewing FOX talking points, letting Rachael totally off the hook and disparaging “woke” culture. He insinuated that Rachael could be a victim of “cancel culture.”
“People are just tearing this girl’s life apart,” Chris told Rachel. “I’m like, ‘Really?'”
When Rachel said the Bachelor contestant’s 2018 photos at the plantation party weren’t a good look, Chris asked, “Well, Rachel, is it a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021? Because there’s a big difference.”
Of course, Rachel shot back that attending plantation parties is NEVER a good look.
Chris walks back support of Rachael Kirkconnell attending antebellum party
Now, Chris claims that he understands the racism inherent in celebrating the old south. “Antebellum parties are not OK,” said Chris when Strahan asked. “Past, present, future, knowing what that represents is unacceptable.”
Chris said he has since apologized to Rachel. Since then, she’s had to shut down her Instagram page after online harassment.
“To anyone who is throwing hate towards Rachel Lindsay, please stop,” Chris implored. “It’s unacceptable.”
Chris sought out racism experts
“I sought out leading scholars, teachers, faith leaders, people like Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, who I am so grateful for, and I’ve also been working closely with a race educator and strategist. I thank them all,” said Chris. “But Dr. Dyson often talks to me about council. Not cancel, and that is full accountability, understanding what you didn’t understand, owning that, learning from that, seeking counsel often in the community that you hurt, learning from them, listening, gaining experience, knowledge and moving forward.”
Despite what has happened, Chris plans on returning to his job, after being pulled from the live After The Rose special which airs after the finale. NFL commentator Emmanuel Acho will step in to host in Chris’ place.
Chris plans to rejoin the Bachelor franchise
“I plan to be back and I want to be back. And I think this franchise can be an important beacon of change,” Chris 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.”
“This interview is not the finish line,” he added. “There is much more work to be done. And I am excited to be a part of that change.”
Interviewer Michael Strahan felt Chris only scratched the surface during the sit down
Strahan didn’t buy Chris’ talking points, and astoundingly, said so after the pre-taped interview ran. “His apology is his apology, but it felt like I got nothing more than a surface response on any of this, and obviously he’s a man who wants to clearly stay on the show, but only time will tell if there’s any meaning behind his words.”
Until the interview, I didn’t think Chris’ position with the Bachelor franchise was in danger. But now I wonder. ABC intended this season, featuring the first Black Bachelor, to be game changing. But instead it revealed that networks have a long way to go before they can claim to provide truly diverse environments.
Lindsay forgives Chris, wants to move on
For Lindsay’s part, she told Billy Bush on Extra, where the notorious interview with Chris happened, that she accepts Chris’ apologies and is ready to forgive and move on. Initially, the former Bachelorette said in her podcast Higher Learning With Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay that “during that conversation, he spoke over me and he spoke at me…his privilege was on display, he never gave me room to talk and he never gave me room to share my perspective, he wasn’t trying to hear it, he just wanted to be heard.”
The Bachelor finale airs on ABC Monday March 8 at 8 pm ET/PT