Chris Harrison has begun his apology tour. The host of The Bachelor franchise was caught up in a scandal after he excused the past racist behavior of contestant Rachel Kirkconnell, criticizing "the woke police" and telling former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay that people should extend Kirkconnell "grace." In the ensuing controversy, Harrison issued an apology on Instagram and stepped away from his onscreen Bachelor duties for the remainder of the season.
On Thursday, Harrison was a guest on Good Morning America, where he explained how he had been using his time to learn about the racial realities in the United States and his intentions to return to the Bachelor franchise. "It was a mistake," Harrison said on GMA. "I made a mistake. I am an imperfect man. I made a mistake and I own that. I believe that mistake doesn't reflect who I am or what I stand for. I am committed to the progress, not just for myself, also for the franchise." Harrison also expressed regret at his treatment of Lindsay in their interview, saying that he was "saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was."
"I didn't speak from my heart and that is to say I stand against all forms of racism. I am deeply sorry," he said. "I'm sorry to Rachel Lindsay and I'm sorry to the Black community." Harrison also revealed that he had been working with author and race educator Dr. Michael Eric Dyson since the incident. "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 explained. "Dr. Dyson often talks to me about counsel, not cancel. That is full accountability, understanding what you didn't understand. Owning that, learning from that, seeking counsel often in the community that you hurt, learning from them, listening, gaining experience, knowledge, and moving forward."
Following the Good Morning America interview, Dyson spoke to TMZ about Harrison's progress, explaining that they had had numerous discussions over Zoom and that Harrison was "also working with a very reputable race educator who is helping him learn from history and fully recognize the magnitude of his mistake." Ultimately, Dyson believes that Harrison's contrition was genuine, saying that Harrison "right to own up to his mistake, admit his imperfections, denounce Rachel Lindsay's online trolls and emphasize a need for change."
"He also made it plain that he is not the victim here, a crucial point to emphasize as he rightfully refuses to revel in self-pity," Dyson said. "At no point was he defensive, which is an important part of showing that he recognized his error."
Good Morning America host Michael Strahan does not share this view, believing the apology to be superficial. "His apology is his apology, but it felt like I got nothing more than a surface response on any of this," Strahan said to his fellow co-hosts. "Obviously, he's a man who wants to clearly stay on the show, but only time will tell if there is any meaning behind his words." There has been no official announcement about how Harrison will be involved with the franchise moving forward, and Emmanuel Acho will be taking over hosting duties of the After The Final Rose special.