After stepping away from his hosting duties on The Bachelor last month following controversial racial comments, Chris Harrison has confirmed that he has no plans to leave the long-running franchise permanently. On Thursday, Harrison appeared on Good Morning America, where he spoke to Michael Strahan in a pre-recorded about his comments while sharing his wish to return to The Bachelor.
"I am an imperfect man, I made a mistake and I own that," Harrison said. "I believe that mistake doesn't reflect who I am or what I stand for. I am committed to progress, not just for myself, also for the franchise. And this is a franchise that has been a part of my life for the better part of 20 years and I love it." He added that he plans "to be back and I want to be back. And I think this franchise can be an important beacon of change," said Harrison. "I know that change is felt, not just by me, but by many others. And we are excited and willing to do the work to show that progress." "This interview is not the finish line," he added. "There is much more work to be done. And I am excited to be a part of that change."
Harrison initially received backlash after he appeared to defend current Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell's decision to attend an Old South antebellum party in 2018 while speaking to former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay in an interview for Extra. Harrison told Lindsay that people should give Kirkconnell some "grace," and when Lindsay said that Kirkconnell's photos at the party weren't a good look, Harrison replied, "Well, Rachel, is it a good look in 2018, or is it not a good look in 2021? Because there's a big difference."
The host said he has apologized to Lindsay, who recently deactivated her Instagram account after becoming the target of online harassment and bullying. "I am saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was in that interview with Rachel Lindsay. I can't believe I didn't speak against antebellum parties, what they stand for," Harrison said. "I didn't say it then and I want to say it now: those parties are not OK, past, present, future. And I didn't speak from my heart. And that is to say that I stand against all forms of racism, and I am deeply sorry to Rachel Lindsay and to the Black community. To anyone who is throwing hate towards Rachel Lindsay, please stop. It's unacceptable."
After the interview concluded, Strahan told his GMA colleagues that he believes Harrison's apology was "nothing more than a surface response" and "he's a man who wants to clearly stay on the show, but only time will tell if there's any meaning behind his words." Harrison will be replaced by Emmanuel Acho for this season of The Bachelor's "After the Final Rose" episode on March 15. ABC has not commented on Harrison's future with the franchise.