Looking ahead. Rachel Lindsay discussed Chris Harrison’s future on — or off — the Bachelor franchise after he stepped aside over their controversial interview about Rachael Kirkconnell.
“Where do we go as a franchise? It’s kind of hard to say,” the former Bachelorette, 35, said on Extra on Monday, February 15. “Chris has stepped aside, which I think is the right decision because, like he said, he needs to take time to get educated and on a profound and productive level to use his words. And I think he needs to understand what was done, what was wrong and what he said in that interview, and he needs time. He’s stepped away to do that. As a franchise, though, where do you go from here?”
When Lindsay’s cohost Billy Bush asked her whether she thinks the franchise should cut ties with its longtime host, 49, for good, she responded, “I think you have to see what happens. I don’t want to play into things too quick to judge someone, right? Am I disappointed? Absolutely. Do I agree with what happened in that interview? No. But at the same time, he has taken the steps to issue not one but two apologies.”
That said, the attorney believes that Harrison may have a tough road ahead should he get the opportunity to come back.
“To see the contestants come together and speak out and to say what they don’t stand for, I don’t know how we continue in this way,” she explained. “How do you when people of Bachelor Nation are upset, the contestants of this very show, the leads of the show? How does he go on to represent the franchise when people are so upset by what they saw in that interview that we had?”
The former Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? host announced via Instagram on Saturday, February 13, that he would be taking some time off so that his “mistakes” and “actions” would not overshadow Matt James’ historic season of The Bachelor. He also confirmed that he will not appear in the After the Final Rose special.
“I have spent the last few days listening to the pain my words have caused and I am deeply remorseful,” Harrison continued. “My ignorance did damage to my friends, my colleagues and strangers alike. I have no one to blame but myself for what I said and the way I spoke. … I was so wrong.”
The TV personality came under fire on February 9 after he defended James’ contestant Kirkconnell’s past racially insensitive actions during an Extra interview with Lindsay. (Lindsay was the first Black Bachelorette, and James is the first Black Bachelor.)
Harrison called on Bachelor Nation to have “a little understanding, a little compassion” toward Kirkconnell, 24, after photos surfaced of her at a plantation-themed party in college. He then asked, “Is it [not] a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021?”
Several Bachelor and Bachelorette alums, including all of the women from James’ season who identify as BIPOC, subsequently spoke out against Harrison. Kirkconnell, for her part, apologized via Instagram on Thursday, February 11, writing in part, “At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them. My age or when it happened does not excuse anything. They are not acceptable or okay in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.”
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