The longtime host of the Bachelor franchise, Chris Harrison, has issued an apology after fans started a petition calling for him to be fired.
One of this season’s contestants, Rachael Kirkconnell, has been repeatedly accused of racism after fans dug through her social media activity. In addition to liking her friend’s posts about Making America Great Again and donning Confederate flags, she was also photographed at an Old South Antebellum-themed sorority party just 2 years ago.
While Kirkconnell still hasn’t responded to these allegations, the Bachelor’s host, Chris Harrison, went on Extra to talk to former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay about the issue.
His comments in the interview were…problematic, to say the least–he even tried to play off the aforementioned Antebellum picture as 18-year-olds doing something 5 years ago, when the photo was from 2018 when Rachael was 22. He also claims things that are considered racist today, in 2021, weren’t in 2018–which, clearly, isn’t the case.
As Lindsay tried to get the message through during their 15-minute conversation, Harrison continued to gaslight her and every other Person of Color upset over Kirkconnel’s social media activity, calling them the “woke police.”
People were so upset over this interview that they started a petition to get Chris fired, which currently has nearly 19,000 signatures. Because of this, Harrison issued an apology.
“To my Bachelor Nation family — I will always own a mistake when I make one, so I am here to extend a sincere apology,” he wrote in a statement on Twitter. “I have this incredible platform to speak about love, and yesterday I took a stance on topics which I should have been better informed. While I do not speak for Rachael Kirkconnell, my intentions were simply to ask for grace in offering her an opportunity to speak on her own behalf.”
He continued, “What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am so deeply sorry. I also apologize to my friend Rachel Lindsay for not listening to her better on a topic she has a first-hand understanding of, and humbly thank the members of Bachelor Nation who have reached out to me to hold me accountable. I promise to do better.”