Chris Harrison has decided to step aside “for a period of time” from The Bachelor franchise after his controversial remarks about Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell. The host posted a lengthy statement on his Instagram on Saturday, once again apologizing for his behavior, as well as announcing that he’s taking time off and would not be doing 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. My ignorance did damage to my friend, colleagues and strangers alike,” he began. “I have no one to blame but myself for what I said and the way I spoke.”
“By excusing historical racism, I defended it. I invoked the term ‘woke police,’ which is unacceptable. I am ashamed over how uninformed I was. I was so wrong,” he continued in part before sending a message to the Black and BIPOC communities.
“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,” Harrison wrote. Read his full statement below:
A post shared by Chris Harrison (@chrisbharrison)
Harrison received backlash after he defended current Bachelor contestant Kirkconnell from allegations of racism and encouraged people to offer her “grace” during an interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay. After Matt James’ Bachelor premiere, a user on TikTok accused Kirkconnell of bullying her in the past for dating Black men, and last week, another user accused Kirkconnell of liking racist photos. Photos have also surfaced of Kirkconnell at an Old South plantation-themed party while in college.
The Bachelor host later apologized on Instagram for “wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism” during the interview. Kirkconnell also issued an apology on Thursday for her “offensive and racist” actions, and reposted the letter from her co-stars on her Instagram Story.
Since then, a number of former Bachelor Nation stars have spoken out on social media condemning Harrison’s comments. The Bachelor season 25 contestants and the Bachelorette season 16 men also united to denounce racists behavior in joint statements. Current Bachelor Matt James also sent his support to Lindsay.
Lindsay, meanwhile, said during her podcast, Higher Learning With Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay, on Friday, that she was having a hard time accepting Harrison’s apology. She also shared that Harrison reached out to her directly before issuing a public apology, but noted that the Bachelor Nation host’s words didn’t ring true to her.
“I’m having a really, really hard time reasoning or really taking in and accepting this apology and I’ll tell you why,” she said. “When I finished that interview with Chris Harrison, he had no problems with it. He was fine. He texted me after. He appreciated the conversation. He was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll probably get a little flack.’ He thought it was great that we could disagree but do it in a civil way.”
“It wasn’t until the backlash came next, it wasn’t until people started talking, people started demanding and calling for different things that he then apologized to me and then apologized publicly,” she said.
For more on the controversy watch the video above.
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