In season 25 “The Bachelor” has to generate drama not just during the rose ceremony, but also off-screen, in the wake of host Chris Harrison’s comments during an interview with Rachel Lindsay, who was the first black star of “The Bachelorette.” In a February 9 interview with Lindsay for the TV show “Extra,” Harrison spoke about Rachael Kirkconnell, one of the front runners on this current season of “The Bachelor.”
Like notes the Hollywood Reporter, Kirkconnell has come under fire for its online activities, such as “a viral TikTok (that) claimed to reveal a social media footprint, including ‘like’ posts with the Confederate flag and sharing of QAnon conspiracy theories. ”
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In the “Extra” interview, Lindsay Harrison asked his thoughts on issues surrounding Kirkconnell, who was also photographed in 2018 at what Lindsay called an “Old South antebellum” college party.
“We all need a little bit of grace, a little bit of understanding, a little bit of compassion,” Harrison said. “Because I’ve seen some stuff online – this judge, jury, executioner thing where people are just tearing up this girl’s life and, like her parents, diving into her parents’ voting record.”
Lindsay pointed out that at an “Old South” party, Kirkconnell “doesn’t look good,” a clear reference to the fact that that was a period in history when plantation owners enslaved black people.
Harrison agreed, but then wondered if the photo won’t “ look good in 2018, or if it won’t look good in 2021? ”
Lindsay replied, “It never looks good. Because she celebrates the Old South. If I went to that party, what would I represent at that party? “
Stating that Lindsay was “100 percent right in 2021,” Harrison continued, “That wasn’t the case in 2018. I’m not defending Rachael, I just know, I don’t know, 50 million people were in 2018. …. Where is this lens that we are holding and was this lens available, and did we all look through it in 2018? ”
Harrison said he wanted to hear from Kirkconnell. “You’re not going to please everyone,” he said. “I am not the roused police.”
That interview sparked even more discussion and reaction, with Lindsay expressing his frustration and Harrison getting backlash for his comments.
After the interview with Lindsay, Harrison posted an apology on Instagram, which read in part, “I have this incredible platform to talk about love, and yesterday I took a stand on topics I should have been better informed about. Although I am not speaking on behalf of Rachael Kirkconnell, my intention was simply to ask for mercy by giving her the opportunity to speak on her behalf, ”Harrison wrote.
“What I now realize that I have done is harm by speaking incorrectly in a way that perpetuates racism, and I am so deeply sorry for that,” he continued. “I also apologize to my friend Rachel Lindsay for not listening to her better on a subject she understands firsthand, and I humbly thank the members of Bachelor Nation who contacted me to take responsibility. to keep. I promise to do better. “
Kirkconnell also spoke up about the controversy with your own Instagram postIt said in part, “I hear you, and I’m here to say I was wrong. At one point I didn’t realize how insulting and racist my actions were, but that’s no excuse for them. My age or when it happened nothing apologizes. They are in no way acceptable or okay. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist. “
Also on Instagram, women who are part of the cast of “The Bachelor” season 25 – inclusive Abigail Heringer, and Beeper James, both from Oregon – posted about the controversy on their individual pages. The joint statement read:
“We are the women of Bachelor Season 25. Twenty-five women who identify as BIPOC were cast for this historic season that was meant to represent change. We are deeply disappointed and want to make it clear that we denounce any defense of racism. Any defense of racist behavior denies the lived and ongoing experiences of BIPOC individuals. These experiences should not be exploited or tokenized. Rachel Lindsay continues to argue with ‘grace’ for individuals who identify as BIPOC within this franchise. Just because she speaks the loudest doesn’t mean she’s alone. We stand behind her, we hear her and we advocate for change alongside her. “
In the latest development, Harrison has now announced that he is temporarily relinquishing his duties as “The Bachelor” franchise host. On Saturday, Harrison posted on Instagram a statement that read in part:
Over the past few days I have listened to the pain my words have caused, and I am deeply sorry. My ignorance harmed friends, colleagues and strangers. I don’t blame anyone but myself for what I said and the way I spoke. I have set myself standards and have not met them. I feel that with every fiber of my being. Now, just as I taught my children to stand up and internalize their actions, I will do the same. By excusing historical racism, I have defended it. I used the term ‘police wake up’ which is unacceptable. I’m ashamed of how ignorant I was. I was so wrong. “
Harrison apologized to “the black community” and to the “BIPOC community”. He went on to write, “This historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions. To this end, I consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will step aside for a while and not participate in the After the Final Rose special. I am committed to being educated on a deeper and more productive level. “
Harrison went on to write, “From here I can only try to evolve and become a better man, and humiliate myself in front of all of you. I hope that I will again live up to the expectations that you all rightly have of me and the expectations that I have for myself. “
Season 25 of “The Bachelor” continues with episode 7, Monday at 8pm on ABC.
– Kristi Turnquist