Chris Harrison Finally Speaks on The Bachelor Scandal: “I Made a Mistake”
Chris Harrison has no excuses for himself.
He’s not trying to run or hide or pretend that he was misunderstood.
Instead, the disgraced host of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette is here to stay he messed up — big time — and he’d like a second chance to prove himself as a television personality.
And also as a person, of course.
Harrison — who released a lengthy statement on Instagram weeks ago in response to his previous mishandled response to an ongoing race-based scandal within the franchise — has now spoken out for the first time since stepping away as host.
He appeared Thursday on Good Morning America.
“It was a mistake,” Harrison admitted in a sneak peek at his Michael Strahan interview.
“I made a mistake. I am an imperfect man. I made a mistake. And I own that.”
The issue at the forefront of this controversy has been well-documented at this point.
Harrison was asked by Strahan why he would defend Rachael Kirkconnell, a contestant on The Bachelor Season 25 — which, of course, features the franchise’s first-ever Black male lead.
Kirkconnell had previously been called out for past social media activity; specifically for a photo of her at an “Old South” college formal, a plantation-themed party, in 2018.
She has referred to behavior such as this as “racist and wrong” and even asked viewers to stop defending her.
During a February 9 chat with Rachel Lindsay on Extra, he called for “a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion” for Kirkconnell.
Harrison also said he thought it was “unbelievably alarming” to watch because “people are just tearing this girl’s life apart.”
The veteran producer offered no words of sympathy for those actually affected by Kirkconnell’s words and actions over the years.
When the conversation with Lindsay turned to that image of Kirkconnell at that “Old South” college formal, Harrison alluded to Rachael as potentially being a victim of so-called “cancel culture.”
“Well, the picture was from 2018 at an Old South antebellum party … that’s not a good look,” Lindsay said, to which 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.”
A big difference? Over the last three years? When it comes to celebrating a culture that very much included slavery?
This was far from Harrison’s best moment and some observers may cringe over his reference to Strahan that it was a mere “mistake.”
It was mostly a full-throated defense of racist behavior.
Harrison has since issued two apologies on social media.
In the first, posted February 10, he apologized for “not listening” to Lindsay during the interview and for “speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism.”
Then, three days later, Harrison announced his break as The Bachelor host and added:
“I have spent the last few days listening to the pain my words have caused, and I am deeply remorseful.
“My ignorance did damage to my friends, colleagues and strangers alike. I have no one to blame but myself for what I said and the way I spoke. I set standards for myself, and have not met them.
“I feel that with every fiber in my being.”
Continued Harrison, who will NOT be on the couch for this month’s After the Final Rose special:
“To the Black community, to the BIPOC community: I am so sorry.
“My words were harmful. I am listening, and I truly apologize for my ignorance and pain it caused you.”
Author, podcast host and former NFL player Emmanuel Acho has since been confirmed as the replacement host for the aforementioned live episode, scheduled to air March 15 immediately following the season finale.
Harrison has also acted as the host of The Bachelorette since its premiere in 2003.
He also emceed several of the franchise’s spin-offs, including Bachelor in Paradise, The Bachelor Winter Games and The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart.
Earlier this week, Lindsay proposed that production on The Bachelorette be postponed until the franchsie figures things out.
Because it’s been pretty clueless when it comes to the topic of race for a pretty long time now.
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