Rachel Lindsay returned to Instagram Saturday after deactivating her account last month following online harassment from “The Bachelor” fans in response to her interview with Chris Harrison.
In her first post back on the social media app, Lindsay shared a photo of a vase of sunflowers with this caption: “I want to be like a sunflower so that even on the darkest days I will stand tall and find the sunlight.”
The former “Bachelorette” star’s return to Instagram comes two days after Harrison’s “Good Morning America” virtual sit-down with Michael Strahan, the “Bachelor” host’s first interview after stepping back from the ABC dating series’ currently airing season amid backlash over his support for a contestant accused of racist behavior. During the interview, Harrison publicly called out those who were “throwing hate towards” Lindsay.
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“I talked to Rachel, not since she deactivated her Instagram account, but I talked to Rachel initially and I apologized,” Harrison told Strahan. “And I want to do so again. I am incredibly sorry. To anyone, who is throwing hate towards Rachel Lindsay, please stop. It is unacceptable.”
Later on Thursday, Lindsay told her fellow “Extra” host Billy Bush in an interview that she “wasn’t expecting” Harrison “to address what’s been going on with me because this is the first time we’ve heard from Chris, but the fact that he did address the harassment and the hate that I’ve been receiving, I really appreciate that.”
In a Feb. 9 interview with Lindsay for “Extra,” Harrison defended Rachael Kirkconnell — a front runner on the current season of “The Bachelor,” the first to feature a Black bachelor, Matt James — for a resurfaced photo in which she appears to be attending a plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018. Kirkconnell has since apologized for her past behavior.
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Harrison was roundly criticized for the interview and his treatment of Lindsay, leading to two public apologies from Harrison, and the Feb. 13 announcement that he would temporarily be “stepping aside” as host of the show. (Emmanuel Acho has been tapped to replace him for the upcoming live season finale and “After the Final Rose” special on March 15.)
The longtime “Bachelor” host told Strahan he is “saddened and shocked by how insensitive” he was in his interview with Lindsey. “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. I am sorry to Rachel Lindsay and I’m sorry to the Black community.”
You can read more about Harrison’s interview, in which he says he plans to return as “Bachelor” franchise host, here.