Chris Harrison apologized after an interview with Rachel Lindsay in which he said that Rachael Kirkconnell deserved “grace” despite her racist past.
Chris Harrison has apologized for his muffled comments about The Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s story of racism and the franchise’s inaction to address it. In a recent interview with Rachel Lindsay, the first black female lead in the show’s history, Chris Harrison spoke with authority on a subject that he has proven, time and again, that he is unprepared to handle.
During an interview with Lindsay on Tuesday at Extra, Harrison tried to defend Kirkconnell’s past and fan criticism that Matt James’ favorite has yet to address some of his racist behavior. In his responses, Harrison frequently used the words “woke up the police” to describe those on social media who are concerned that the first Black Bachelor may end with a woman whose social media activity contains multiple signs of racial insensitivity. Harrison also repeated the words “grace”, “compassion” Y “understanding” to describe what she wanted the audience to show Kirkconnell as her and James’ love story unfolded. He said this to Lindsay, a black woman who ran the show by casting a racist contestant on her season.
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After upsetting fans, Harrison decided Instagram on Wednesday to apologize for his actions. He wrote, “I took a stand on issues that I should have been better informed about.” He thanked the Bachelor Nation for holding him accountable and told him he was sorry for Lindsay for not considering her experience on the show. Harrison admitted that he spoke in a way that “perpetuates racism.”
Harrison has now offered an apology, but the true test of whether his words are sincere will be demonstrated through his actions. As you are hopefully realizing, it is not enough to watch nationwide protests for racial equality and simply respond with consecutive black tracks. Harrison said during his interview with Lindsay, “The program drives these social problems”, But it is your responsibility, as the face of the franchise, to make sure it is powered the right way.
A written statement is a small step in regaining the Bachelor Nation’s trust. Harrison must understand why his words are degrading not only to Lindsay, but to countless viewers who believe that drama and racial equality can coexist. Lindsay agreed with Harrison that Kirkconnell should be the first to speak up and defend himself or apologize. But the franchise must also be explained. If Harrison isn’t willing to take the steps necessary to ensure that someone with Kirkconnell’s history of racism isn’t cast for future seasons, it’s not because he’s still learning how to do it right. It’s because he doesn’t want to.
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The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 pm EST on ABC.
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