Chris Harrison Apologizes for 'Perpetuating Racism' by Defending Bachelor Contestant

Harrison got backlash for asking Bachelor viewers to show controversial contestant Rachael Kirkconnell “a little grace.”

“The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison issued an apology to viewers on Wednesday, after he took heat for defending a contestant’s questionable past.

Appearing on “EXTRA” earlier this week alongside former Bachelorette star Rachel Lindsay, the franchise’s first Black bachelorette, the two discussed photos from contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s past in which she attended an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal.

Rachael is a contestant and frontrunner on Matt James’s current season as the show’s first Black lead.

Unable to render YouTube Video.

“The picture was from 2018 at an Old South antebellum party. That’s not a good look,” said Lindsay, before Harrison asked, “Well, Rachel is it a good look in 2018? Or, is it not a good look in 2021? Because there’s a big difference.”

Lindsay maintained it wasn’t a good look “ever,” while Harrison kept saying he wasn’t defending Kirkconnell but felt 2018 was a different time.

“We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion,” he added. “I haven’t heard Rachael speak on this yet. Until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this? I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago and that’s it.”

Bachelor Star Katie Thurston Still Standing Up for Women, Shuts Down Body Shamer on Instagram

Kirkconnell hasn’t commented on the photos, despite Lindsay pointing out that there’s nothing that “contractually stops her” from speaking out.

After his comments sparked backlash, Harrison took to Instagram to issue a lengthy apology. See it in full below:

“I will always own a mistake when I make one, so I am here to extend a sincere apology. I have this incredible platform to speak about love, and yesterday I took a stance on topics about 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. 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.”

During the interview on EXTRA, Harrison said Rachael’s past will come up during the “Women Tell All” special and he hoped to debate with her and “hold her feet to fire as much as I can.”

“This is on her, not necessarily the show,” added Lindsay.

Source: Read Full Article