Chris Harrison, host of “The Bachelor,” is taking a temporary leave of absence from the reality television program while he sorts through accusations of racism, but alumni of the show say Harrison should not be allowed to return.
As The Daily Wire reported previously, Harrison faced accusations of “perpetuating racism” for speaking out against cancel culture and suggesting that a current Bachelor contestant, who was photographed dressed for an “antebellum” themed fraternity party in 2018, be allowed to explain the pictures and apologize for her insensitive behavior rather than face a “judge, jury, and executioner” on social media.
“The photo apparently gave rise to a full-fledged investigation into Kirkconnell’s background, conducted largely by social media sleuths, that turned up an unverified allegation that she’d shamed a former acquaintance for dating black men, and evidence that Kirkconnell’s parents voted for Donald Trump (the internet detectives sought Kirkconnell’s voting record but, it seems, could not find it),” The Daily Wire reported last week.
“In the interview, Harrison decried cancel culture, begging fans of The Bachelor not to act as ‘judge, jury, and executioner,’ and give Kirkconnell, ‘a little grace, a little understanding,’ and allow her to explain the photo and, potentially, apologize,” the report noted.
Harrison, under fire for his request on social media, apologized immediately. When the firestorm failed to abate, however, he announced that he was temporarily stepping down from his Bachelor hosting duties.
“This historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions,” Harrison said in a statement, noting that this is the first season of the long-running reality program to feature a black contestant, bachelor Matt James. “To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special.”
DeMario Jackson and Jubilee Sharpe, two alumni of the Bachelor program, though, told TMZ that Harrison should be axed permanently.
“Jubilee shared that during her time on the show, she noticed that white contestants were treated better by producers, and DeMario told the site that the franchise needs to make major changes” in order to deflect further charges of racism.
“It just sucked because, yeah, we had each other but there was nobody we could really relate to because it was an all-white production, all-white cast, all-white show … which is great, but it’s 2021 now,” Jackson said.
Women who took part in the 25th season of the Bachelor released their own statement, demanding better treatment for BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) contestants, and without naming Harrison specifically, denounced the host for defending “racist behavior.”
“We denounce any defense of racism,” the group said on Instagram. “Any defense of racist behavior denies the lived and continued experiences of BIPOC individuals. These experiences are not to be exploited or tokenized.”
The group closed their statement by demanding “change.”
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