Chris Harrison will temporarily leave his role as host of The Bachelor in light of his controversial Extra interview with Bachelor and Bachelorette alum Rachel Lindsay. Harrison deflected and took aim at the "woke police" when Lindsay pressed him on current contestant Rachael Kirkconnell's racism controversy. “By excusing historical racism, I defended it,” Harrison said in an Instagram statement. "I invoked the term 'woke police,' which is unacceptable. I am ashamed over how uninformed I was. I was so wrong."
He added, "The historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions. To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special. I am dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before.”
View this post on Instagram
Elsewhere in the note, Harrison directly apologized to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) and vowed to put in the work to improve himself. "My words were harmful. I am listening, and I truly apologize for my ignorance and any pain it caused you," Harrison wrote, adding that he's already had "enlightening conversations" as he starts on his "path to anti-racism." It is unclear when and if Harrison will return to The Bachelor and its spinoffs.
Kirkconnell came under fire when fans on Reddit discovered alleged photos of her attending an "Old South" fraternity party with a plantation theme. There were also unconfirmed claims on TikTok that Kirkconnell "liked" social media posts that included the Confederate flag and QAnon conspiracy theories.
Not long after the photos came to light, Lindsay talked about the controversy with Harrison in an Extra interview, and pointed out that it was "not a good look." Harrison replied by saying, "Is it a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021?"
Lindsay stood her ground and replied back, "It's not a good look ever. If I went to that party, what would I represent at that party?" Harrison still didn't think it was an issue and excused the action, saying, "I don't disagree with you. You're 100 percent right in 2021. That was not the case in 2018. And again, I'm not defending Rachael. I just know that, I don't know, 50 million people did that in 2018? That was a type of party that a lot of people went to. And again, I'm not defending it. I didn't go to it."