Chris Harrison, who has hosted The Bachelor for 25 seasons, is used to bringing the stars and contestants of the reality show to the hot seat. But thanks to some comments he made in a recent interview With Rachel Lindsay, the franchise's first Black Bachelorette, he is now feeling the heat of public opinion and apologizing.
"For my Bachelor Nation family – I'll always have a mistake if I make one, so I'm here to offer my heartfelt apologies," Harrison said in a tweet on Wednesday night. “While I am not speaking for Rachael Kirkconnell, I just wanted to ask her mercy by giving her the opportunity to speak on her own behalf. What I now realize is that I did harm by speaking wrongly in a way that perpetuates racism, and I am very sorry. "
In case you missed the offense, Harrison opened his mouth and put his foot in during an extra interview recently hosted by Lindsay. During the segment, Lindsay and Harrison discussed photos of Kirkconnell, a season 25 contestant who is currently vying for the heart of Matt James, the franchise's first Black Bachelor, who attended an antebellum party three years ago. She has since removed the photos from social media and turned off the comment option. Because of the painful and racist history that sparked the Antebellum South before the Civil War and slavery, many have avoided the romance of the era and its imagery.
Rather than commenting on the problems that Kirkconnell's previous racial insensitivities created, Harrison defended her reputation and lambasted what he called "culture breakdown."
"That judge, jury, hangman thing where people are just tearing this girl's life apart and delving into her parents' voting results … it's incredibly alarming to see," a visibly frustrated Harrison told Lindsay . "You know, I saw a picture of her at a sorority show five years ago and that was it."
But Lindsay didn't let Harrison or Kirkconnell evade her responsibility so easily: "Well, the picture was from 2018 at an old South / Antebellum party, so it doesn't look good."
Harrison then asked Lindsay whether the culture of abandonment made Kirkconnell's actions in 2018 or now unacceptable, and Lindsay, who was a former attorney, asserted herself.
"It never looks good," she said before emphasizing the slavery component of being black. "It celebrates the old south. What would I represent if I went to this party?"
Harrison never admitted his point of view, however, and fans of The Bachelor did not appreciate his cultural dullness.
"We can leave grace and space to study while demanding accountability," tweeted Huffington Post reporter Emma Gray. “I feel like [Chris Harrison] in this clip expresses more empathy for people who romanticize the Confederation than for people who are harmed by white supremacy. So disappointing. "