Chris Harrison, the host of ‘The Bachelor’ told “Good Morning America” Thursday that he plans to return to the program after a hiatus and that he’s been working with a “race educator” in order to better understand the error that got him (temporarily) booted from the reality competition show.
Speaking to host Michael Strahan in his first interview since leaving “The Bachelor,” Harrison again apologized for “perpetuating racism” by suggesting that an embattled contestant should be given “grace” and allowed to explain herself after a photo emerged of her attending an antebellum-themed fraternity party in 2018.
Harrison promised that he would be back as the host of “The Bachelor” but suggested that he would be doing a round of apology interviews first.
“I plan to be back. I want to be back,” he said. “This interview is not the finish line. There is much more work to be done.”
Last month, Harrison appeared on the entertainment news program “Extra” to comment on “Bachelor” contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, who had been pictured attending a college party in full antebellum dress. In the interview, Harrison decried cancel culture and suggested that social media not be allowed to be “judge, jury, and executioner” when it comes to questions of possible racism. He asked that fans give Kirkconnell “a little grace, a little understanding” and allow her to explain the photo and, potentially, apologize.
Kirkconnell, who is expected to “win” this season of “The Bachelor” — the first season with a black single man in the title role — eventually did both.
Harrison, though, met with a wave of social media outrage and accusations that he was “perpetuating racism” by not openly and unequivocally condemning Kirkconnell’s actions. He eventually apologized — twice — and announced that he was stepping aside from hosting the program, at least for the remainder of this season. ABC replaced Harrison with ex-NFL player and host of the YouTube program, ‘Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man,’ Emmanuel Acho, for the season’s final episode, and added a disclaimer to pre-filmed scenes which feature Harrison.
Harrison admitted, Thursday, that, in his Extra interview, he spoke “in a manner that perpetuates racism.”
“I am saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was in that interview and I didn’t speak from my heart,” Harrison told Strahan Thursday. “That is to say I stand against all forms of racism and I am deeply sorry. I’m sorry to Rachel Lindsay and I’m sorry to the Black community.”
“I am not a victim here,” Harrison added. “I made a mistake and I own that. Racism, oppression, these are big, dynamic problems and they take serious work. And I am committed to that work.”
He says that he has been working with “race educator” Dr. Eric Michael Dyson, “who has taught him the idea of ‘counsel, not cancel.'” As a result, Harrison said he’s taken ‘full accountability’ for his actions and is learning from the black community by listening,” according to the New York Post’s Page Six.
Strahan was, apparently, not impressed with Harrison’s efforts. Following the interview, he called the discussion a “surface response.”