Chris Harrison has made it clear he wants to return to The Bachelor after stepping aside during season 25 — and we’re breaking down Bachelor Nation’s mixed feelings on Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast.
After going quiet following his initial apologies, the 49-year-old host spoke out about his controversial defense of Matt James’ finalist Rachael Kirkconnell‘s past racially insensitive actions on Good Morning America on Thursday, March 4.
“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,” Harrison said.
The Perfect Letter author went on to denounce the “Old South”-themed party that Kirkconnell, 24, attended in 2018. He previously downplayed the situation during an interview with Rachel Lindsay on Extra last month.
“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 on Thursday. “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.”
Some Bachelor and Bachelorette alums have expressed concern that if Harrison does indeed return as the host of the popular franchise, they wouldn’t feel comfortable.
“With the Bachelorette season being so soon … I would struggle because the amount of work that needs to be done here,” Serena Pitt, who appeared on James’ season, told Entertainment Tonight. “I would need to see the changes that have been happening in his life, and the actions that he has taken, and will be continuing to take moving forward, to feel comfortable welcoming him into the Bachelorette season.”
Other past contestants, however, have expressed their support for Harrison’s return.
“I support Chris Harrison AND Rachel Lindsay❤️,” Michelle Money wrote on Thursday via Instagram. “I do not think @chrisbharrison should be fired. I believe that he has taken accountability and he deserves to continue hosting the show. I ALSO think we all need to be doing better. Take more time to understand where Rachel Lindsay is coming from if you haven’t.”
ABC has yet to announce the season 17 Bachelorette of Harrison’s role after he stepped aside to allow Emmanuel Acho to host the upcoming After the Final Rose special with James and his final three — Kirkconnell, Michelle Young and Bri Springs.