“[There are] a few people that are sitting in Hollywood right now nervous as hell that I am doing a podcast — and I guess I would say to those people, if you’re nervous, maybe you should be.” Chris Harrison brings the theatrics on his new show, “The Most Dramatic Podcast Ever,” but did he deliver? Us Weekly is breaking down the first two episodes of the former Bachelor host’s new venture.
The 51-year-old reality TV host goes solo on the premiere episode, released by iHeartRadio on Monday, January 9, before he’s joined by fiancée Lauren Zima for his second installment. Throughout two hours, Harrison details what it was like to navigate the backlash of his February 2021 interview that ultimately cost him his gig with the franchise.
“I was heartbroken. And I was gutted. I was embarrassed. I was mad at myself. I was disappointed in myself. The last thing in the world I ever wanted to do was be an agent of anything negative. Whether it had to do with race, or anything, the fact that I was involved in this and that I had a big part in this, I do own that,” Harrison said.
He added that there were ”many things out of [his] control” and “things definitely spun out of control for a number of reasons.”
As Bachelor Nation will recall, Harrison came under fire when asked about resurfaced photos of Bachelor season 25 contestant (and eventual winner) Rachael Kirkconnell at a college party in an antebellum-style dress. At the time, he told Rachel Lindsay, the first Black Bachelorette who now works for Extra, that fans need to have “a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion” for Kirkconnell, who had yet to speak out.
“Who is Rachel Lindsay and who is Chris Harrison and who is whatever woke police person out there, who are you? I’ve heard this a lot of, ‘I think she should,’ ‘I think he should.’ Who the hell are you? Who are you that you demand that?” Harrison said during the controversial chat.
Harrison apologized via an Instagram statement and ABC subsequently hired Emmanuel Acho to host Matt James’ After the Final Rose in March 2021. Months later, Harrison’s official exit from the franchise was announced. (Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams were tapped to host seasons 17 and 18 of The Bachelorette before Jesse Palmer took over.)
“I wasn’t my normal, eloquent self. I didn’t express myself like I normally do. I think that part we all agree on,” Harrison said on Monday. “But as far as my standing in the community and the show, it really didn’t register on the Richter scale. There was much more egregious things going on in the world and things that had happened.”
Harrison implied that his bosses “didn’t really think it was going to amount to much” and was told that if he apologized, “We would be able to move forward.”
“I had someone, a very prominent person say to me, ‘You know, the mistake you made Chris, you apologized.’ And I understood what that person was trying to say,” he explained. “But I said, ‘I disagree with you. My apology was warranted. Because I did misstep. And I made a mistake.’”
Harrison went on to compare things to Stranger Things’ The Upside Down.
“I think the timing of this is very relevant of where we were in the world. We were all coming out of two years of being locked up. And I think we were all angry and frustrated and then culturally, what was going on in the world with civil rights and there was a lot of confusion, anger and resentment,” Harrison said. “It was a very combustible moment in time. And my timing of being sloppy, inappropriate, and wrong in that moment — that’s on me to have not seen that. You know, I was just as frustrated and blind and pissed off as everybody else in the world coming out of what we came out of. But that’s not to say that was OK. … I had no problem putting out that first apology, it was a written apology that I put out on Instagram. But there was just so much noise at the time. It just didn’t matter. Apologies didn’t matter. And I’ve never seen a time like that in my life, I’ve never known that not to work … if you sincerely apologize and open your heart.”
Scroll through for more from Harrison: